Tag Archives: Swiss pop

The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo, made up of Zurich and Winterthur residents Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, experiments with sounds that defy established definitions and seeks out interdisciplinary exchanges with other art forms. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Eclecta: The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo. (Photo: Andrea Ebener)

The place where verbal definitions of different arts implode; where stylistic pigeon-holes exist only as relics of past times; where everything can unfold freely and continually move into more and more new arrangements: that is precisely where Eclecta feel at home. Eclecta is a duo featuring Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, both of whom are solo artists, multi-instrumentalists and singers. And both are, as they describe themselves, “quite simply curious”. Which is something of an understatement. An unadulterated passion for experimentation is their driving force. Although in their late twenties, the couple have not forgotten their youthful enthusiasm, but combine it with mature reflection and are therefore better able to integrate additional elements into their art, which means the result always remains homogeneous.

Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher got to know one another at jazz school, but it was actually the second time they had met. “We had already met as children in the (childrenʼs circus school) ʻCircolino Pipistrelloʼ”, says Bollinger. Whitcher laughs, adding: “But we only found out later that this was the case.” You cannot escape fate, so what was bound to happen inevitably did: “When Marena was asked to do a solo concert, she didnʼt have enough material to be able to fulfil the booking on her own. So she asked me. We then amalgamated our songs, which proved to be the start of everything”, recounts Bollinger.

Their first album from 2016 is called “A Symmetry”, and the play on words concealed in this title says it all, both women are in fact actually confident individuals when it comes to their manner and their art, who have been happy to tread their own path in a large number of collaborations and solo performances. “From the very start, we played two characters that are totally different. Eclecta thrives on this duality, this asymmetry, but at the same time we also have the opportunity to melt into one another”, explains Whitcher, to which Bollinger adds: “We can blend our voices, so that people can hardly distinguish one from the other. The album title describes this ongoing interplay between symmetry and asymmetry.”

The 15 songs, which, as previously mentioned, refuse to be pigeon-holed and deliberately map the stylistic spaces which contribute to the experiment, when added together become an opalescent kaleidoscope of euphoria and melancholy, of passion and thoughtfulness. And listeners still find “A Symmetry” astounding even three years after it first appeared, allowing more and more details to be unveiled: for the protagonists, today the record represents only a snapshot of their artistic process. “On our forthcoming album, which we hope to release at the beginning of 2020, we want to advance this play even further, so that the whole thing continues to become more intermeshed.”

“The Get Going! funding gives us something very precious, namely time. Apart from that, you are never paid for the immensely long period of time it takes to get to grips with specific topics, and to research and write songs.”

What this will sound like, reckon the duo with a wink, “currently remains a secret”. When they talk of their influences, they range from social issues to painting, from theatre to performance art, from literature to philosophy. Whitcher, who has American roots on her fatherʼs side, is enthusiastic about the surrealists and, during her performances, goes into such questions as “What are monsters nowadays and why do we need them?” or “Having first world problems and creating art – do they go together?”. It is also important to Bollinger to integrate political and social topicality into her creative work. Consequently, she writes about such issues as climate change, freedom of thought and digitisation, as well as searching for places where numbers and codes do not control us. She splits her time between Zurich, Berlin and her Engadine homeland, trying to capture the sounds of these different places, because, as she says, “it is crucial where you are when you are creatively active”.

One of these creative playgrounds is also the stage. With instruments and costumes she makes herself, she transforms a performance into a kind of complete artwork. Therefore, in future they want to make increased use of the medium of video in order to lend a visual aspect to their music. But this is only one of what seems like a thousand ideas with which these two musicians are busy. In the end, Eclecta should also be a statement that contradicts the zeitgeist: “In our individualised society, everyone is focused entirely on themselves, never once glancing at what is going on around them.” Whitcher believes “Yet community is a basic requirement of humans”, and Bollinger adds: “I already see it as one of our jobs to reflect the world in our art and to encourage a different way of thinking.”

In any event, they regard the Get Going! funding from FONDATION SUISA as something that offers them a great deal of freedom. “It gives us something very precious, namely time”, comments Bollinger. “Precisely”, emphasises Whitcher, “apart from that, you are never paid for the immensely long period of time it takes to get to grips with specific topics, and to research and write songs”. When you look at it this way, Eclecta is a fine example of this kind of encouragement, because both of these young ladies are venturing down paths that so far remain untrodden and now no longer risk falling between two stools with their passion for experimentation.

www.eclecta.ch

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.

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The Eclecta duo, made up of Zurich and Winterthur residents Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, experiments with sounds that defy established definitions and seeks out interdisciplinary exchanges with other art forms. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Eclecta: The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo. (Photo: Andrea Ebener)

The place where verbal definitions of different arts implode; where stylistic pigeon-holes exist only as relics of past times; where everything can unfold freely and continually move into more and more new arrangements: that is precisely where Eclecta feel at home. Eclecta is a duo featuring Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, both of whom are solo artists, multi-instrumentalists and singers. And both are, as they describe themselves, “quite simply curious”. Which is something of an understatement. An unadulterated passion...read more

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

SUISA member KT Gorique had been invited to the panel organised by SUISA, “Hit the World” at the M4music Festival 2019, in her capacity as an expert for songwriting in the Rap genre. Shortly afterwards, it became known that she is one of the price winners of the Swiss Music Awards 2019. An interview with the rapper who lives in the Valais, and who carries her music into the whole of Switzerland. Text by guest author José Tippenhauer, Swissmusic.ch

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

“She performed on stage in the Senegal, in Canada and all over Europe and it is not possible to imagine the Swiss rap scene without her”, writes the Federal Agency for Culture (BAK) with regards to the recent award winner of the Swiss Music Award 2019, KT Gorique. (Photo: Jérémie Carron)

KT Gorique deserves her nickname “Swiss knife”. After winning the international rap improvisational contest End of the Weak in New York in 2012, she starred in the film Brooklyn by Pascal Tessaud, portraying the young rapper Coralie. In 2016, she released her first album Tentative de Survie and last year, she entered the charts with her project Kunta Kita. A few weeks after her nomination at the Swiss Music Awards, her ascent continues. She’ll be warming-up for Nicki Minaj at Hallenstadion (Zürich) and is so far the only French-speaker on the bill at Frauenfeld. 2019 is full of promise for this Valaisanne rapper with whom we talked about Switzerland, her inspirations and her creative processes.

Your last project “Kunta Kita” was released in July 2018. What’s been the outcome for you?
KT Gorique: This project has marked a big change in my career. I could not have expected half of what has happened to me as a result!
Since its release, I’ve played forty gigs, including my first as headliner, and several were sold-out (St. Gallen, Lucerne …). These last six years, I’ve primarily done “discovery” gigs for people who didn’t necessarily know me. With “Kunta Kita”, a fan base has now been established. The paradox is that most of my audience comes from German-speaking Switzerland despite the fact that I sing in French, quite unbelievable!
The project is distributed by the Zurich label FarMore Records, but most importantly, in September SRF3 named me “Best Talent” of the month. It’s mainstream radio that has brought me to a different audience. I notice it at my concerts where there are now hip-hop fans, punks, rastas, rockers, young and old people. For me, this is the best gift. I make music for everyone, not just for those who already have the rap vocabulary.

Now that you’re performing a lot in German Switzerland, what do you think of this famous Röstigraben (the symbolic barrier between the French and German-speaking parts of the country)?
The budget that the audience is ready to part with is very different. I recently played a date in Lausanne with other French-speaking artists, the entry fee was 25 CHF. I thought people would find it expensive and, indeed, the room was not full. The following week, I played in German Switzerland, just me and a warm-up act for 30 CHF, and the venue was full!
I have the impression that in Romandie (French part of Switzerland) we seek our identity from the French side. Whereas when the Swiss Germans see Swiss artists who have talent, they say “it’s cool because they are good and especially because they are Swiss!” And they will encourage them.
In Romandie, we tend to appreciate our artists only if they are validated in France, or at least outside our borders. Fortunately, things are starting to change. I recently performed with Danitsa, Comme1Flocon, SWK and Chien Bleu – a similar line-up with just French-Swiss artists would have been impossible 3 years ago!
To come back to the Röstigraben, when I tell the Romands that I am going to gig in German Switzerland, they say to me: “But aren’t they really closed-minded?!” On the contrary, I realize that they are twice as open as us! The proof is that they welcome us, but the Swiss-German rappers are unknown here.

In “Outta Road”, you hit upon people dressed in yellow vests, before the group had become a movement. In your “NAYUNO Session”, you talk about the “Gilets jaunes”, saying: “yellow has the edge this winter, they wear it as a vest, I want everyone together.” Is this a cutting remark?
On the contrary, it’s a message of encouragement. If I were French, I would be on the road every day with them, wearing yellow vests all the time, even on my legs!
Everything I write comes from instinct. I find it wonderful when I see people who do not necessarily come from the same social backgrounds asserting their rights as human beings, because they are in an unfair or unbearable position. So when I say “I want everyone together” it means “I’m with you till the end!”

Let’s talk specifically about your creative process. What do you mean by “writing from instinct”?
To come up with lyrics, first of all, I need a beat. I can sometimes write a little without one, but it won’t result in an entire song. When I want to start writing a song, I automatically need to have music, it’s what determines the words.
With regard to inspiration, my source is the day-to-day. There are many things in life that I’m sensitive to. It can be what I see, what I live, what I hear, the experiences of people around me, my family or difficulties that I encounter. It can be very personal, but also more global – as in the example of the Gilets jaunes.
From there, I’m guided by the music and emotions. I try to connect to what I’m feeling and to shape this around the rhythm. I quite often write on my computer, otherwise, when I want to keep things really sharp and instinctive, I write out the lyrics directly in my head. I do one sentence after another and I retain them little by little, without having to transcribe anything onto a sheet of paper. The voice melodies and the flow then start to follow naturally, depending on what I want to say. This way I feel much more instinctive: direct in what I mean and how I want to come across.

In addition to writing your lyrics, you also compose your own beats. How do you do this? What sounds do you start with?
Yes, I compose from time to time. In theory, I start off with a base, a little vibe that acts as an energy, for example something that could be melancholic, a bit reggae or a little cainfri (“African”). I always set off with a kind of colour that’s in my head, it’s actually very abstract. I then try to transcribe, melodically-speaking, what’s in my head, using a lot of samples on my MIDI keyboard. I keep looking and looking until I find the right sound or the notes that speak to me. I then start with the basic melody and I build around it from there. I continue like this until my instrumental part is composed.

KT Gorique on Youtube

The interview with KT Gorique was held in the course of the thematic dossiers “A la découverte du rap romand” (Discovering Rap in the French part of Switzerland) by Swissmusic.ch and was first published there in March 2019.

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SUISA member KT Gorique had been invited to the panel organised by SUISA, “Hit the World” at the M4music Festival 2019, in her capacity as an expert for songwriting in the Rap genre. Shortly afterwards, it became known that she is one of the price winners of the Swiss Music Awards 2019. An interview with the rapper who lives in the Valais, and who carries her music into the whole of Switzerland. Text by guest author José Tippenhauer, Swissmusic.ch

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

“She performed on stage in the Senegal, in Canada and all over Europe and it is not possible to imagine the Swiss rap scene without her”, writes the Federal Agency for Culture (BAK) with regards to the recent award winner of the Swiss Music Award 2019, KT Gorique. (Photo: Jérémie Carron)

KT Gorique deserves...read more

Switzerland will be represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Luca Hänni and a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp | plus video

For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a SUISA member since 2015. The Bern native was first exposed to the broader public in a German casting show in 2012. Since then, he has issued four albums and a number of singles, and recently appeared on stage with Helene Fischer. Eurovision is the next big adventure in his career. Hänni says he’s excited, “and I just want to give the best show possible.”

Last year, Luca Hänni took part in the SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac returning for a second time. For Laurell Barker, the Swiss camp is a real success story; she contributed to Switzerland’s Eurovision entry last year as well. She wrote the song “Stones” with ZiBBZ, which is made up of SUISA members Corinne and Stefan Gfeller. Jon Hällgren, the Swedish producer, completes the songwriting quartet. After the camp, he produced “She Got Me” for Eurovision 2019 in collaboration with his son Lukas Hällgren.

This year, Swiss broadcaster SRF left the decision on the Eurovision entry to an international jury of 20 experts and a 100-strong viewer panel in a multiple-stage process. Over 420 songs were entered.

On 16 May 2019 (SRF zwei at 9:00 pm), Switzerland will be battling for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv. The Eurovision final will take place on 18 May 2019 (SRF 1 at 8:00 pm).

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place in June 2018 for the second time. Overall, 36 musicians from eight countries took part in the three-day event in Powerplay Studios, Maur. This resulted in 19 pop songs in a range of styles. The camp was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

www.lucamusic.ch

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For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a...read more

“Adiós”: Caribbean-style summer hit with a cembalo | plus video

At the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019, together with four co-composers Loco Escrito can hope for the sought-after concrete blocks in the category “Best Hit” for the song “Adiós”. The musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter talks about where the strengths of the song lie in a video with his song analysis. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

Nicolas Herzig – Loco Escrito’s real name – seems to have found the success formula for summer hits. After he hit the Swiss Charts with “Sin Ti” in 2017, he outdid his success last year: The single “Adiós” stayed in the Swiss Charts for 29 weeks and climbed all the way to 4th position. The song thus counted among the three most successful Swiss tracks in 2018 and has been nominated for the award as “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards.

Varied and thrilling dramaturgy

Hans Feigenwinter thinks that one interesting aspect of the song was the instrumentation of the stanzas. He is a musician himself and lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. He thoroughly analyses the song in the video.

For Nicolas Herzig and co-composer and producer Henrik Amschler it was paramount that “Adiós” should remain varied and contain a thrilling dramaturgy. In an interview given in writing, Amschler stated: “Since the song does, for example, not contain a classical bridge with a change of chord after the second chorus but three parts, it was important to us that each part was special in its own way.” The various song parts have therefore also their respective and different moods, as Amschler adds: “The first section of the second part is rhythmical and animates you to dance. The first section of the third part, on the other hand, is spheric and very emotional.”

(International) songwriting team work

In addition to Amschler and Herzig, three other musicians were involved in writing the song “Adiós”. Composer Sandro Dietrich from Graubünden and Latin Rapper, singer, percussionist and music producer Lou Geniuz, aka Lou Zarra, from the same Swiss canton, laid the musical foundation which was already very much developed according to Amschler. With regards to the lyrics, Nicolas Herzig was supported by Columbian musician Jonathan Ruiz Meija. “It was therefore up to Loco and me to continue with the song, to adapt it and to complete it,” writes Amschler.

The songwriters and the producer have deliberately renounced on using too many instruments. “We had actually planned to use more instruments, for example in the chorus”, explains Henrik Amschler. “At the end of the day, however, we decided to reduce in order to provide the vocals with more space by way of various harmonies.” Nevertheless, “Adiós” surprises with interesting sounds, such as a harpsichord or cembalo-like sound – something that is rather unusual for pop music according to Hans Feigenwinter.

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“Adiós” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.locoescrito.com
www.henrik-hsa-amschler.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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At the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019, together with four co-composers Loco Escrito can hope for the sought-after concrete blocks in the category “Best Hit” for the song “Adiós”. The musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter talks about where the strengths of the song lie in a video with his song analysis. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

Nicolas Herzig – Loco Escrito’s real name – seems to have found the success formula for summer hits. After he hit the Swiss Charts with “Sin Ti” in 2017, he outdid his success last year: The single “Adiós” stayed in the Swiss Charts for 29 weeks and climbed all the way to 4th position. The song thus counted among the three most successful Swiss tracks in 2018 and has been nominated for...read more

“Us Mänsch”: Last minute hit with loads of energy | plus video

“Us Mänsch” by Bligg and Marc Sway was one of the most successful Swiss songs last year. This despite the fact that the song only made it to the Bligg album “KombiNation” last minute. Now, the song is nominated for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter has analysed the composition of “Us Mänsch”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Bligg and Marc Sway have already written some songs together. For the single “Us Mänsch” they took to the microphone together for the first time. Not without success: The single was awarded platinum status in 2018.

Why is the song so attractive for the audience? Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne and is a pianist and composer himself, reckons: “There is a lot of energy, it is a very passionate rap.” In his song analysis which can be watched in the video, he recognises something solemn in the piece: “I had to think of a sermon.”

Last minute hit

Apart from Bligg and Marc Sway, Bligg’s long-term producer and co-composer, Fred Herrmann, contributed to writing “Us Mänsch”. In a written interview, Fred Herrmann described how the song was created:

““Us Mänsch” was a typical last minute hit! It was the very last song which we wrote and produced for the album “KombiNation”. Bligg said that he still had a cool idea for some lyrics with a play on words in relation to “Us Mänsch” which he was very keen to realise. Since we were already lagging behind the time schedule rather significantly, we worked simultaneously. While I worked on the composition and the production, Bligg was honing the lyrics into shape and recorded his vocals. He kept sending me new vocal tracks he had recorded which I either implemented straight away or questioned and asked for improvement. It was a real ping pong party! Somehow we had put the song together, but we found that the refrain needed to be recorded by a male singer with a raucous voice. We quickly thought of Marc Sway whom we both have known very well and for a very long time! Mister Sway came to the studio for two hours each and the refrain was ready! The beauty about composing is that every now and then, completely unpredictably, you manage to create a song where everything is just perfect.”

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“Us Mänsch” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.bligg.ch
www.marcsway.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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“Us Mänsch” by Bligg and Marc Sway was one of the most successful Swiss songs last year. This despite the fact that the song only made it to the Bligg album “KombiNation” last minute. Now, the song is nominated for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter has analysed the composition of “Us Mänsch”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Bligg and Marc Sway have already written some songs together. For the single “Us Mänsch” they took to the microphone together for the first time. Not without success: The single was awarded platinum status in 2018.

Why is the song so attractive for the audience? Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne and is a...read more

“079”: A tragicomic hit story | plus video

Lo & Leduc and their co-composer Maurice “Dr Mo” Könz have made history with “079”: Last year, the song stayed an entire 21 weeks at the top of the national charts – and thus broke a Swiss record. “079” is one of the three nominated songs for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and lecturer for musicology, Hans Feigenwinter, analysed the hit composition. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

How “079” found its way into the Swiss charts is already a remarkable story. In February 2018, Lo & Leduc offered the song and the respective album “Update 4.0” for streaming and downloading, free of charge, on their website – “because of joy” as they said in an interview at the time. The audience liked the song so much that it sold more and more and was streamed ever more increasingly. That way, “079” made it to number 1 of the Swiss single charts and held the top spot for 21 weeks.

The song was written by Lorenz Häberli (Lo), Luc Oggier (Leduc) and the Berne composer, DJ and performer Maurice Könz, better known as Dr. Mo. The latter wrote the melody to which Lo & Leduc added the lyrics. “The lyrics and the music were created completely independently of each other”, tells Dr. Mo in relation to the creation process of the piece in a written interview. Both elements had already nearly been finished when they were finally combined. “We had tried to combine the lyrics with another beat, respectively to write another set of lyrics for the beat”, Dr. Mo writes. “These ideas, however, were quickly dismissed. When we then combined those lyrics with that beat, we knew immediately that everything fits perfectly.”

Original, moving, somewhat absurd

Last but not least, the story that the song is about contributed to its success. “It is a tragicomic story. It is original, it is comprehensible, it is moving; it all has something absurd about it”, says pianist and composer Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. His analysis of the song can be seen in the video.

The fact that searching for the right words can be rather time intensive in certain cases, is shown by Dr. Mo on the basis of a specific example: “The search for a suitable personal pronoun lasted the longest. We were unsure whether the story can be understood if two different singers perform it from a first person perspective, all the while are depicting the same person. We thus also thought about telling a story about “him” so that the confusion about the personalities could be remedied. This, however, created problems with the conjugation, rhymes and emotional access. We finally decided, and rightly so, that we would have to impose the first person perspective onto the listener.

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“079” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.lo-leduc.ch
www.drmo.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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Lo & Leduc and their co-composer Maurice “Dr Mo” Könz have made history with “079”: Last year, the song stayed an entire 21 weeks at the top of the national charts – and thus broke a Swiss record. “079” is one of the three nominated songs for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and lecturer for musicology, Hans Feigenwinter, analysed the hit composition. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

How “079” found its way into the Swiss charts is already a remarkable story. In February 2018, Lo & Leduc offered the song and the respective album “Update 4.0” for streaming and downloading, free of charge, on their website – “because of joy” as they said in an interview at the time. The audience liked the...read more

“You write more songs than fit on an album” | plus video

When we visited him in his studio in January 2018, the long-term SUISA member Marc Sway allowed us a peek into his creative activities and his professional life as a musician. Mid-October 2018, his single “Beat of My Heart” was released as the precursor for his next album whose creation process was one of the main subjects in the video interview. Text and Video by Sibylle Roth

Marc Sway has been a SUISA member since 2003. After his recently intensive period of performing live, he is even more excited when it comes to recording his next album. His last album, “Black & White”, was released in 2014.

Songs for the coming album have been created over the last three years jointly with his long-term partner lyricists and musicians. “If you make music together you are together so many times and at such close proximity that you only want to do that with really good friends”, Marc Sway says. “That’s why I have been collaborating with the same songwriter partners for years.”

During our conversation, the 39-year-old states that songwriting has an enormously big influence on what an album is going to sound like; after all he creates the foundation to it with his compositions. Marc Sway further explains that he likes to have an objective and a concept in mind, and he is convinced that “each album is a chance to reinvent yourself”.

The single “Beat of My Heart” will be released in mid-October 2018, the new album “Way Back Home” will be published in spring 2019.

www.marcsway.ch, Marc Sway website

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When we visited him in his studio in January 2018, the long-term SUISA member Marc Sway allowed us a peek into his creative activities and his professional life as a musician. Mid-October 2018, his single “Beat of My Heart” was released as the precursor for his next album whose creation process was one of the main subjects in the video interview. Text and Video by Sibylle Roth

Marc Sway has been a SUISA member since 2003. After his recently intensive period of performing live, he is even more excited when it comes to recording his next album. His last album, “Black & White”, was released in 2014.

Songs for the coming album have been created over the last three years jointly with his long-term partner lyricists and musicians. “If you make music together...read more

Creative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp | plus video

SUISA organised the second edition of its Songwriting Camp in cooperation with Pele Loriano Productions. Like the premiere last year the camp again took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur. A total of 36 musicians from eight different countries attended the three-day event in June 2018, creating 19 pop songs in a wide range of musical styles. Text and Video by Manu Leuenberger

The musical goal of SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp was to write and compose pop songs suitable for broadcasting and with hit-parade potential, covering the full gamut of contemporary pop music – from urban to singer/songwriter. The participating musicians were divided into teams of 3 to 4 persons with the task of producing one song in one day. The groups changed every day so that the musicians always worked on new songs with new teammates.

Songwriting camps – a well-established format in the pop music branch

The songwriting camp is a well-established production format in the international pop music business. One of the advantages of this format is that it brings together musicians who would not otherwise work together, explained Pele Loriano, the artistic director of the event, in an article about last year’s SUISA Camp published in the “NZZ” (edition of 19.10.2017): “This increases the chance that the special chemistry favouring inspiration will emerge in one of the teams. The great thing about teamwork is that it generates ideas which one person alone would not otherwise have found.”

The foreign producers and songwriters invited by Pele Loriano to the Greifensee were from France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, USA, Sweden, and Canada. In picking the artists from Switzerland, the artistic director was literally spoilt for choice: 75 responses were received to SUISA’s call for applications from members. The number of applicants was far larger then the places available.

Many SUISA members were interested and participated

In order to cope with the large demand, the five teams originally planned were increased to six songwriting groups per day. This enabled more SUISA members than planned to enjoy the opportunity of composing songs jointly with international and Swiss songwriters, and to benefit from the inspirational exchange.

Over the three days from 18 to 20 June 2018, a total of 36 music creators participated in the Songwriting Camp. Of the 26 participating SUISA members, six were from the French-speaking part of the country and three from the Ticino; the others came from German-speaking Switzerland. About 40% of the participants were female musicians (14 female, 22 male artists).

At the final “Listening Session” on Wednesday evening, the artists and guests – including representatives of music publishers – listened to the diversified results of the songwriting sessions. Overall, the teams produced 19 pop songs in the most varied musical styles; from ballads to chanson, from indie pop to dance track, with lyrics in French, German, Italian and English. The future will show whether the demo songs from the “hit factory made in Switzerland”, as the “Aargauer Zeitung” called the SUISA Songwriting Camp in its edition of 1 February 2018, will be successful in finding an audience.

More videos and SUISA Music Stories:
on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube

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SUISA organised the second edition of its Songwriting Camp in cooperation with Pele Loriano Productions. Like the premiere last year the camp again took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur. A total of 36 musicians from eight different countries attended the three-day event in June 2018, creating 19 pop songs in a wide range of musical styles. Text and Video by Manu Leuenberger

The musical goal of SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp was to write and compose pop songs suitable for broadcasting and with hit-parade potential, covering the full gamut of contemporary pop music – from urban to singer/songwriter. The participating musicians were divided into teams of 3 to 4 persons with the task of producing one song in one day. The groups changed every day so that the musicians always worked...read more

The shadow man of dialect rock

He composed many of the hits which made Polo Hofer, in particular, famous. Hanery Amman has passed away at the age of 65. Obituary by Ane Hebeisen, guest author

The shadow man of dialect rock

Hanery Amman, a member of SUISA since 1976, in a photo taken at a meeting of SUISA members in Bern on 10 November 2009. (Photo: Wolfgang Rudigier)

When you asked Hanery Amman what his dream was, he would answer that he hoped to be able to make music until the day he died. Life was not always kind to him and would hold in store more than a few disasters and disappointments, but at least that one dream came true: he did what he loved most to the very end – he made music.

It would be exaggerated to say that he displayed any great productivity in his music-making. He had too many other adversities to cope with. Only a fraction of his lifetime output was ever published; we assume that, somewhere in Interlaken, a treasure trove of Hanery Amman essays and studies is awaiting discovery.

The soul of Rumpelstilz

Hanery Amman’s music career got off to an early start. At school he played the banjo and the ukulele. But the piano in the school’s music room would change the entire course of Hanspeter “Hanery” Amman’s career. As soon as he started playing it, he realised that the piano was capable of producing far more emotion than the nasal-sounding plucking instruments.

After his apprenticeship as a precision mechanic, and a detour in the theatre (he is known to have played the general “Treffpunkt Vietnam”, a play staged at the Zurich Zimmer-Theater), he started meeting regularly with his old neighbour, a certain Urs “Polo” Hofer, to play music. The two had lived with their parents in the same house in Interlaken for a long time; the Hofers were witnesses at the Ammans’ wedding, and Polo – who was seven years’ older – used to push baby Hanery’s pram around the neighbourhood.

At the time, nobody knew that they would stay close – sometimes more, sometimes less – to the end of their days; nor that the town of Interlaken would name a square after them.

At their get-togethers, the roles were clearly distributed. Hanery Amman composed the music, Polo Hofer wrote the lyrics. Hofer was the salesman, singer and the cool guy; Amman was the soul of the project and decisively shaped the sound of 1.0 dialect rock. Their blueprint was Udo Lindenberg who had succeeded in merging the German language with the music of the times. Their aim was to do the same with the Swiss-German dialect.

The first Swiss Reggae

Rumpelstilz brought together the most diverse and raging energies. Hanery Amman’s piano playing was influenced by such opposites as Elton John and Chick Corea, for example; the band admired fusion-jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper as well as Bob Dylan and, because their temporary percussionist (and future world music guru) Res Hassenstein was well-acquainted with Caribbean music, they decided to add Reggae to their repertoire.

Hanery Amman wrote his first big hits in this period: “Teddybär” (officially the first dialect Reggae) or the six and one-half minute long “D Rosmarie und i” preluded by a sparkling piano introduction, with a solo in the middle which swung from boogie to blues to jazz. He loved fusion.

Hanery Amman later described his years with Rumpelstilz as the most formative in his career. He liked to say that the band was multicultural at a time when the term “Multi-Kulti” did not even exist. It was with Rumpelstilz that he developed his own style and individuality both as a musician and a composer.

Disbanding of Rumpelstilz

Rumpelstilz may have been extremely successful, but they were by no means sacred in Switzerland at the time. Not even in Interlaken, Hanery Amman’s hometown, was the man with the long blond hair considered a worthy shepherd of Switzerland’s musical tradition; on the contrary, people thought he should go and get some proper work.

In 1979, tension between Hanery and Polo caused the group to disband, which is to be expected when two hard-headed “Gringe” from the Bernese Oberland collide. In an interview shortly afterwards, Hanery explained : “There were two bellwethers in one band. At a certain point, success went to Polo Hofer’s head. That hurt the band.”

And it was also about money: despite the band’s huge success, money was always tight, and nobody really knew why. In hindsight, he was to describe his relationship with Hofer more objectively: “We complemented each other and needed each other”. With age, they regarded each other as friends.

An evergreen hit

After they broke up, Polo Hofer founded his SchmetterDing while Hanery Amman tried to go it alone under his own name. In 1980, he released “Burning Fire”, a solo album produced in Germany; the songs were in English, the style lively Americana rock; in interviews he explained that he wanted to tour with his songs and that in any case Berndeutsch was not really a good language for rock.

In the Bernese Oberland he had little success. But he did play a few concerts in Germany and Austria. Alongside he composed film scores or wrote songs for the Italian pop singer Rita Pavone. He soon ended his cooperation with the German production company, set up his own studio in Interlaken, gave concerts and did what he liked best: wrote songs.

One of these was called “Kentucky Rose” and would probably also have been buried in his archives if Polo Hofer, who was touring with his SchmetterBand, had not heard a demo tape of the song. He simply added lyrics in Berndeutsch, and landed the biggest hit in the history of Swiss music: “Alperose” made Hofer and Amman immortal.

Under his stubborn Bernese skull, Hanery Amman had a heart of gold. Friends say he was a quirky but extremely lovable character. One often hears attributes like direct, honest, stubborn and highly sensitive. He had a good sense of humour and often showed flashes of his wit and warmth.

What he did not like at all, however, were musical lapses: in May 1984 he went to the studio with his band to record an album. He found the result so poor that he refused to release it. Why was soon known: in an interview he criticised his musicians’ work. The band had not been sufficiently motivated on that day. The outcome: Scrap it! Change the Band!

The “Chopin of the Bernese Oberland”

Hard years followed. After an operation for an infection of the inner ear, he developed a tinnitus which would make it nearly impossible for him to play music for a long time. He still played a few concerts, initiated a Rumpelstilz reunion and helped cut three concerts in the Anker in Interlaken (he lived just above the concert hall). The resulting recording “Live im Anker” is one of Switzerland’s best known concert albums.

Amman’s next solo album was only released in 2000. “Solitaire”, as it was titled, was greeted by enthusiastic critics but did not make it further than 90 on the Swiss hit parade. People were then listening to Manu Chao, the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Britney Spears; Amman’s long-brooded and carefully arranged dialect pieces seemed out of fashion. Nor did his doctors have any good news. In 2007, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. A disease that has now, ten years’ later – and five months after Polo Hofer – taken his life.

He never complained about his fate, even though life “dealt him one blow after another”, as he recently said. On the contrary, he felt very grateful. Hanery Amman was never one to push his way into the limelight. His songs made Polo Hofer famous, not him. Show business was a world full of con artists and dazzlers, he would say, and he never really felt at ease in it.

He was happiest at the piano when he could hear his fingers playing. He worked mostly at night (often naked, as he once revealed) – it was his way of meditating the moodiness of the world. “When everything “goes to pot”, in the end you still have music”, was his motto.

If he had had someone at his side to bring a little order to his work and ease his recurring bouts of self-doubt, the man Polo Hofer dubbed the “Chopin of the Bernese Oberland” might have left behind a world-class oeuvre. But the Interlaker never cared much for consultants.

Nevertheless, what he did publish is saved in Switzerland’s long-term memory of dialect music. In his final months he was working on an instrumental album which he hoped to finish before he died. That was not to be. The night before New Year’s eve, Hanery Amman passed away at the age of 65, surrounded by his closest family.

As he sang so beautifully in his solo album “Solitaire”: “U we de meinsch, die Wält göng under, de si d Stärne geng no da”. (When you think the world has ended, the stars are still there.) There is now one more star in the firmament.

www.haneryamman.ch

This obituary by Ane Hebeisen was published in a similar form in Der Bund and the Tages-Anzeiger at the beginning of January 2018.

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He composed many of the hits which made Polo Hofer, in particular, famous. Hanery Amman has passed away at the age of 65. Obituary by Ane Hebeisen, guest author

The shadow man of dialect rock

Hanery Amman, a member of SUISA since 1976, in a photo taken at a meeting of SUISA members in Bern on 10 November 2009. (Photo: Wolfgang Rudigier)

When you asked Hanery Amman what his dream was, he would answer that he hoped to be able to make music until the day he died. Life was not always kind to him and would hold in store more than a few disasters and disappointments, but at least that one dream came true: he did what he loved most to the very end – he made music.

It would be exaggerated to say that he displayed any great...read more

“We wanted to write a song that suits us” | plus video

Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Co and Stee Gfeller commute between Los Angeles and Switzerland. In their LA music lab, the two often take part in songwriting sessions with other musicians – a form of creative exchange missing from Switzerland until now. “It’s so great that now we have a songwriting camp for the first time in Switzerland”, says Co Gfeller.

When they took part in the songwriting camp at Powerplay Studios in August 2017, the siblings wrote two songs in two days. With the song “Stones”, they will be battling it out at the SRF decision show on 4 February 2018, hoping to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest finale in Lisbon.

The Gfellers co-wrote the song with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. Working as a trio proved to be highly productive; As ZiBBZ recall in the interview, the basic structure of the song was there in just 30 minutes. The song came about almost “magically” on the day, as they explain.

www.zibbz.com

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Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Co and Stee Gfeller commute between Los Angeles and Switzerland. In their LA music lab, the two often take part in songwriting sessions with other musicians – a form of creative exchange missing from Switzerland until now. “It’s so great that now we have a songwriting camp for the first time...read more