Audio Invasion 2011 - by Rene Jungnickel

Photo by Rene Jungnickel

There are way more popcultural spots in Germany than just the always hip cities of Berlin, Hamburg or Cologne. Insiders might already know this, but this information has not reached any part of the world by now. German city Leipzig is always worth a visit with his beautiful architecture and rich amount of cultural offers – from classic to pop, from high to sub-culture. And sometimes it all comes together for just one time at a certain place. The date for everybody who’s interested in witnessing this happening is settled, the place also: the 24th of November, deep inside the halls of the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

Audio Invasion 2012 - LogoThe sixth installment of the famous AUDIO INVASION is about to happen and its reputation over the past years speaks for itself. It’s the perfect balance between past and present and an ideal event for everyone who’s not attached by thinking in certain genres. It’s not about limiting your mind and taste but to let it flow and to experience music in its purest way, recuded to the sound. As every year their will be a traditional classic concert at the beginning of the evening befor the line-up unfolds. And it’s a wide range of artists who are visiting Leipzig on that evening. French neo-pop superstar SÉBASTIEN TELLIER is about to present a smooth selection of his sensual songwriting, while danish indie rockers REPTILE YOUTH plan to let the walls of the Gewandhaus shiver. A similar effect might be achieved by their fellow country man and NBHAP favourites RANGLEKLODS. We expect another stunning performance from the dark wave poppers. Same goes for LIGHT ASYLUM and their energetic 80s industrial beats straight from New York City. The rest of the electronic acts include for example ELLEN ALIEN or GOLD PANDA. Read the entire line-up on the event’s homepage.

But why should we even try to explain the fascination of this very unique event to you when there are people like Matthias, who organized the festival and who was so kind to answer us a few questions about the event itself, it’s goals and history and the cultural scene of Leipzig in general. Here is what he said to NBHAP.


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How would you describe the concept of the AUDIO INVASION to our readership?

Just imagine the following situation. You grab the mp3-player of a friend, you skip through the music on it and you constantly experience new discovered sounds and surprises while changing the tunes. And suddenly there are MAHLER and CHOPIN next to electronic dance tracks or indie music. Something for every situation, every emotion – may it be for a private party or in a moment of introspective silence.

That’s basicly what we want to achieve with the AUDIO INVASION. It’s not about just giving you one expensive evening of many acts that you consume in a special location – we want to present the audience some sort of journey through various genres, we want them to get soaked into this world, walk through and between them in the form of four different areas with over 3000 guests and perfect sound. It’s about moving and discovering new things – for both: the people visiting the event and the historical location


When and where did this whole project started?
Well, we did not have this journey concept in mind when we originally started the AUDIO INVASION. It emerged over the years, first considerations go back eight years. The origin was a survey that pointed out that the average age of all the people who visited the Gewandhaus in Leipzig was around 50 years. It’s a problem most classical concert locations experience and it is one you have to face. So we asked ourselves – how can we open the idea and concept of the location uo to a younger audience without denying the roots and values of the Gewandhaus? Our solution was the opening towards a certain scene and audience that is basicly open to classical and temporary music. It took us two years to implement the concept and the first event was back in 2007. It’s the sixth instalment this year and we couldn’t be happier about the achieved goals in the past.


You had a lot of high quality international acts here in the past, for example WHOMADEWHO or WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE and this year’s line-up looks once again pretty nice. How to the artists react to the concept of the event?
In general quite polite and very interested. Well, and that’s no surprise for us, since the artists we normally select are all very open-minded and don’t think in specific musical categories. Some of them even gut an education in classical music, for example. So, we’re confronting a lot of open minded people who are willing to support the concept.


Leipzig got itself a good reputation in Germany as some sort of insider tip in terms of pop cultural environment. Can you confirm this? What’s your impression on the scene?
Yes, the scene here is very agile and has a lot of self-confidence. But on the same time there is not many commerce at the moment in terms of professional management or labels with a huge business plan or anything like this. That’s quite enjoyable, another important thing is that we got an academy for music and dance in the city where young people are encouraged to learn about such things. I think one big plus for Leipzig is the fact that there is still a lot of room for trying out things. Subcultures have the chance to grow here in a vital way.


That almost sounds like a popcultural paradise.
Yeah, but of course it ain’t. It’s not  always sunny here despite the fact that Leipzig is often described as “Little Berlin”. It sounds nice but there’s a lot of romance within such a description. There a lot of problems for the young scene, like a lack of audience who’s willing to pay for the cultural program or at last an appropriate financial founding. It’s a permanent state of becoming – nothing is defined yet. A lot is happening because of people constantly coming to the city and also leaving it behind.


Are there any specific future plans and goals for the AUDIO INVASION? Any new ideas and wishes? Like having the temporary acts playing together with the symphonic orchestra?
Besides the thing with the musical genres we’re very interested in the basic ‘audio’ aspect of it. We want to keep the listening experience on a constantly high level but also to push it even higher in terms of technical basis and the selection of artists. We want to give the music the most comfortable environment – you can’t have the orchestra playing in a smaller location, for example. And we don’t want to falsify this experience by combining the classical music with microphones and electronic parts. This artificial alienation takes a lot away from the aspired listening experience, if you know what I mean. A lot of these “Classic meets …” – concepts never really worked out well in the past in our opinion. And there is this high inconsistency and fast developments in todays’s music business that make a combination of acts often impossible when it comes to logistics and stuff. The world tours of our orchestra are long termed organized journeys, for example. But bridges between the different musical worlds are desirable as long as they fit to our expectations in quality. But we’ll keep our eyes and ears open.


Finally, what do hope and passion meen to you – especially in the perspective of the event?
We surely hope that the mixture of all these different acts from various genres help showing the similarities and passion from all artists for the music in general. And we hope that the enthusiasm from all people will stay alive within the next years – everyone from the Gewandhaus to the sponsors to the people working behind the scenes. But must of it from the audience as they are the obvious reason why we’re doing this.


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