Grave Concerns: Greetings Anders and Yasmine, it’s so nice to make your acquaintance. How are you doing? How has the tour been?
Anders: I’m fine thank you, though a bit tired. The tour went really well and it was great to finally come out and meet the fans. It was also an amazing experience to spend 2 weeks on the road with such a great bunch of talented people.
Yaz: Thank you. It’s nice to "meet” you too *grins* The tour has been wonderful. I loved every second of it, no matter how hard it could be. I miss everyone involved!
Grave Concerns: How did you guys meet, and was this an immediate connection toward your relationship in regard to music?
Yaz: We met through some old friends, if you will. The first day I visited Anders we got in to the studio and listened to the first Ashbury Heights song, “MakeShift”. I suspect that he made that song in order to convince me that he actually can write electronic music. Oh what the hell, long story short: We drank a few drinks, watched a good movie and decided that a band should be given birth *smiles*
Grave Concerns: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about following your musical dreams?
Anders: I always had to fend for myself, there never was anyone around to give advice. I have taught myself what I need to know, hopefully.
Yaz: When it comes to all sorts of dreams, the classic advice must be the one most suitable: Never ever give up and believe in yourself. Only then can you find the strength to make your dreams, no matter how grand, come true. I value support higher than advice though.
Grave Concerns: Since nature is very precious to me, I tend to be drawn more toward the Earth element. Although each one has its own special attributes, together they are priceless. Which element do you see yourselves more drawn toward?
Anders: Since I’m a Pisces, naturally I’m drawn to water. The sea has always had some strange influence over me; I can sit for hours watching the waves from ashore. But I am also quite a hot-tempered person and sometimes there is fire within me that I need to get out, like a burning madness. Fire and water don’t mix very well and I guess that’s why I am always a really intense personality. There’s a struggle within me and that struggle shows in my music I think.
Yaz: I’m a, hmm, cunning person. Now, don’t take me wrong but I tend to wander in my thoughts, appearance and mood so I’d say that I’m involved in every element there is. If I am to pick only one though I think the most suitable one would be fire. It can burn quietly, not disturbing a soul but at the same time it can burst into fierce flames, just like me. Yes. Fire would be my element.
Grave Concerns: So Anders, your first name in German means “strange”…I like it, in fact, I like the idea of being different in general, and not fitting into everyone’s’ ideal mold. When you first learned of your name meaning “strange” did it bother you?
Anders: Actually the German word “Anders” is quite a versatile one and can be used in a lot of different situations. The true meaning of the word is hard to translate but it’s more along the lines of “different” than “strange”. It was a German friend that told me it meant strange when we had just released our first single, he simply didn’t have a good enough English vocabulary to correctly choose an English word for it. I like it anyway, the name Anders is actually Greek in origin and means “man”, which isn’t very creative. I’ve always been very different from the people around me and I felt acknowledged when I learned of the German meaning of my name.
Grave Concerns: OK…now it’s time for me to say WHOA! Yasmine! Good gravy lady, that is one sizzling and erotic picture of you up on your MySpace photo album. Tell us, what the inspiration for it was? (Grave Concerns Update: This is the photo that blew me away!) (;
Yaz: Haha! If I am to be honest, I’m not quite sure which one you mean *laughs* And thank you. When it comes to my pictures, my modeling and so on, I always try to give the eye (and the mind) some sort of treat. Now we know that hot pictures always make one look twice but it’s not only that. I want to stand for that part in us which burns just like those flames I spoke of, the sound of yearning heartbeat and the insatiable hunger for passion, for love and for sex. Then of course, I simply love working with my body and it feels good to be comfortable in what nature has given me *smile*
Grave Concerns: Your album “Three Cheers for the Newlydeads” is a darkly fascinating title---how did you come up with it?
Yaz: I know that Anders can answer that question better than I.
Anders: Our label kept telling us when we were working on the album to keep our expectations low because no one buys any records these days. It got to the point when we asked ourselves why they even wanted us to release a record at all. We felt like a newly wedded couple coming out of the church and having loved ones throwing bones at us instead of rice. We were pronounced dead before even getting a chance to prove ourselves, hence: newlydeads.
Grave Concerns: Have you ever had a music/lyrics dream? And if so, were you able to remember it enough to write down the melody and lyrics?
Anders: I once dreamt of writing lyrics for a new song, the following day I found some strange stuff jotted down on a piece of paper on my writing desk. Seems that I had sleepwalked and written down some of the lines I dreamt, it turned out quite a good song in the end.
Yaz: Oh yes, of course. I have tons of papers with messy notes and smileys all over them, anything that can help me remember the feeling I had when I came up with the song/lyric.
Grave Concerns: When it comes to writing new material, which do you feel comes first in the creative process---the lyrics or the music, or doesn’t it matter?
Anders: When I write a song I always start with the title, I need an evocative word or sentence to build a song. From that title I then make the beat, bassline, leads... Everything starts with just a few words.
Yaz: They walk hand in hand. The tunes must fit with the words, become one. It’s only then you can say that you’ve created a masterpiece or perhaps a hit thought the most important thing is that you can stand for the song.
Grave Concerns: Since we’re on the same wavelength---how about how you came up with the name “Ashbury Heights”?
Yaz: We always get that question *laughs* I’ll let Anders answer it though. He always does.
Anders: The district of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco was a center for alternative lifestyles, for creativity and social experiments in the 60s, it was a place where people pushed the boundaries. Ashbury Heights is an experiment as well, a musical experiment trying to push the boundaries of a genre that grew stale long time ago. I suppose we hope to one day influence the synth-scene as the Haight influenced all of popular music in the sixties. Back in those days the world changed fast and so did music, today change is slow but we hope to plant a seed with all the power of the old Haight in the synth pop establishment.
Grave Concerns: Which songs are you most proud of on your album “Three Cheers for the Newlydeads”?
Anders: That would be Stormbringer and Derrick is a strange machine, the first because I feel it conveys a strong feeling together with an important message and the latter because it was the hardest song for me to do. I fought with it for months almost giving up several times, but I stuck with it and it turned out great in the end.
Yaz: That is impossible to answer. You connect with each song in a different ways, making all of them special in some sort of way. I guess I could say that I fancy “SmAlLeR” a tad more than the others but yeah. I love them all as if they were my children.
Grave Concerns: I read something very impressive...“Three Cheers for the Newlydeads” was mixed by the extraordinary talents of John Fryer (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails...) What thoughts were rushing thought your heads when you knew John was going to be working on your album?
Anders: It was great to be able to work with such a legend, in the end it made our album sound completely different from what we imagined. Working with John was quite exciting indeed, I would love to do it again.
Yaz: My exact thoughts must have been: “No... F*cking... Way!! COOL!” Haha, I guess anyone would think something like that when a hot shot takes on the title of your “producer”. Come on. The man is a legend.
Grave Concerns: How do you differentiate a real good song, from a classic? In other words, what really makes a song stand out and last? And with your music, which song or songs do you feel have met that challenge, have come close to it, or are you currently just enjoying the creative bliss?
Anders: A classic has the power to move several generations, a mere “really good song” gets lost in the tides of time within a decade or so. I think all of the tracks on Newlydeads are “really good”, but I hope to have made a few classics before this band is over.
Yaz: A classic is a song that never dies a song like “Take On Me” or “Sweet Dreams”. They will stand forever and no matter which club you go to, “alternative” or not, everyone will know the lyrics. A really good song ends up meaning something to you, makes you feel something each and every time you listen to it. You won’t forget it in the first time and if you do, you’ll remember every tune next time you hear it even if it might take years.
Grave Concerns: When do find you’re most creative, in reference to writing lyrics and music?
Anders: I sometimes get little attacks of happiness when my mind wanders freely and I can distance myself from the feelings of deep depression that usually frequent my mind. Then I can look objectively upon how I feel and all that is wrong with my life and write about it without getting angry, I love those moments of emotional clarity.
Yaz: Whenever I feel for something/someone very strongly. It can be love, hate, rage, jealousy or complete happiness but I have to have a bursting feeling inside of me. On rare occasions I can come up with a really good lyric just by looking at something, but as I said, on RARE occasions.
Grave Concerns: What is your drink of choice? And what are some of your favorite foods.
Anders: I can’t live without Mojitos and my favourite food is Greek Salad.
Yaz: Always hot chocolate and Coca-Cola. You can ask my tour crew *laughs* I’m actually, and sadly, addicted to Coca-Cola. If I don’t get my daily dosage, I freak out! When it comes to alcohol, I prefer mixing my drinks by myself but if I buy one I can almost promise you that’ll be a “Screwdriver” or a “Sex on the Beach”. My food of choice? Oh, gosh. Uhm. Fast food is a nice classic no matter how bad it might be for your overall health and... Hmm... I’ve come to grow fond of Asian food though my stomach doesn’t quite cope with strong spices. It depends really. If I like it I’ll probably eat it again.
Grave Concerns: If you had the power to live the life of any character in a movie for one-week after the end credits rolled, who would you choose and why?
Anders: Alexander de Large in A Clockwork Orange, it’s fucking payback time!
Yaz: It’s easier to answer it the other way; who would you never want to be and why? *smiles* It’s a tough question, I’ll give you that. Actually, I don’t think I can answer it. I am truly sorry but it seems my life is full of surprises and interesting as it is. *smiles*
Grave Concerns: What do think makes your music stand out among other artists in your field?
Anders: Ashbury Heights is a modern synth pop band, we do not seek to replicate past glories but to move forward and explore the boundaries of our genre. We don’t use guitars or attempt any fucking “crossover” shit, we want to give new life to the music we love by doing it well and pushing it forward, not by diluting it. This I think, is what makes us unique.
Yaz: I’d say our lyrics and pieces of our sound. Our voices are quite unique as well though some people claim that we’re somewhat similar to other duos like Yazoo or Human League. I’m not saying its bad thing only that I’m not always able to agree. Apart from the sound and lyrics, I think we might differ a bit in our approach. I can’t be sure of course but let’s just say that I have a hunch.
Grave Concerns: I love the intricate looks of Labyrinths, and the mysteriousness of what lies within them. If you were to create one, how would it look?
Anders: Like a human heart, there is no labyrinth more intricate, no greater mystery to unlock.
Yaz: Like a labyrinth. Since I can’t describe every corner with words I will have to say that it would resemble my oh so messes up mind *smirks*
Grave Concerns: Being a member of MySpace, how has it helped, or hindered your musical endeavors? And which countries do you feel have embraced your music the most?
Anders: MySpace is a terrific help for all of today’s bands and artists I think. It has definitely helped us a lot. Germany is, obviously, the country where I feel that our music works best. But I am also amazed by the interest from the UK and US audiences, it’s much bigger than anticipated.
Yaz: It has helped us a lot! Our MySpace was a hit right before the tour and shortly after it ended. I’m not sure which country though but I’d say that the Germans and “Brits” have found our music to be overwhelmingly good. We’ve already got some, how to put it, “ecstatic” fans from pretty much all over the world and we love them all of course.
Grave Concerns: If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why?
Anders: Anton Corbijn because he’s simply the greatest music video director of all time.
Yaz: I’d pick Adam Philips. He’s a flash animator and a hell of a good one! I admire his work and it would be an honour having him animating and directing our next video!
Grave Concerns: Have you seen any cool new movies or shows you’d like to talk about?
Anders: Alas, no. My schedule does not allow for such distractions, school and work is all I can manage right now.
Yaz: I simply loved “Stardust”. Fabulous movie with wonderful actors! I could go on and on about it forever *big smile* Shows? Well. Our own family members in Hocico pulled it off very nicely in Hamburg during the tour. Of course, everyone did a splendid job every night but they really delivered that evening!
Grave Concerns: You’ve been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?
Anders: “Post Synth” I think would describe the situation rather well, but that’s two words and none of them new. I don’t know really, it feels a bit scary to come up with something that might be used to label us in the future, I hate that.
Yaz: “Fluoxetin”. It’s not a new word but just like the “drug” it can make you happier than ever or hand over the worst side effects you could ever imagine. Come to think of it, that describes the life as an artist more than our music. Why are you giving us so tough questions? *laughs* Oh well. The new word would be “Refix”. I’ll tell you why the next time you interview us.
Grave Concerns: If you were to plant a tree to symbolize something special in your lives, where would that tree be planted, and what kind is it?
Anders: I would plant a Willow tree in my little hometown, down by the sea where I used to play as a kid. Before my life turned bad.
Yaz: I would plant a Bonsai tree where I lived my very first years on this earth. It would stand for youth and wisdom. Those trees never grow large but they stand proudly and confident, just as I. Every time I see one of them I can’t help to think what may lie within them. They are mysterious but “comforting” at the same time.
Grave Concerns: What did you do yesterday at 12:40 PM? What are your plans for tomorrow?
Anders: Yesterday at that time I was at school trying to catch up with everything after the tour, I was doing the same today and will continue doing it all week. In the evenings I always try to get some work done on the next album.
Yaz: I had a very serious discussion with a person whom I love above else. I also unpacked my newly bought interior design stuff.
Grave Concerns: Other than musical inspirations, who are your favorite authors, poets, painters, or any other artistic creators whose work you respect?
Anders: My favourite author is Shakespeare, my favourite poet is Lord Byron, I always enjoyed the works of surrealist Max Ernst and I must also mention Swedish poet Gustaf Fröding to whom I owe a great deal.
Yaz: I’m just going to namedrop them on by one: H. R. Geiger, Marilyn Manson, Shakespeare, Neil Gaiman, all the charming blokes in Depeche Mode, Axel Torvenius, Annie Lennox and the list could go on forever.
Grave Concerns: I’m giving you 13 letters to choose from, in any order; you only have to use 6 of them (you can use more if you want, but not less than 6) and you have to make up a phrase describing a transformation from man/woman into a werewolf or vampire. But only with these letters...FSLGDBCNPURYO.
Anders: That’s too much of a puzzle for me I’m afraid *laughs*.
Yaz: Haha, I’m not into that kind of stuff so I’m gonna let that question pass right through *smile*
Grave Concerns: Your music is so fast and catchy---so incredible for the club scene…if you were to open your own nightclub, what would it be called, and how would you want it to be set up?
Anders: Like an old insane asylum meets Alice in wonderland, a dance floor with matressed walls, chequred floor like a game of chess a chill out lounge looking like a house of mirrors with lots of those classic psychotherapy couches to relax in. I’d call the place “Beyond the looking glass”, but everybody’d call it BLG for short.
Yaz: Actually, I think that the club in Bochum, Matrix, has all the parts I’d need for a nightclub. Perfect building, fantastic stage, all combined with a really good ambiance!
Grave Concerns: If you were able to put on a concert for charity, which one/s would you be supporting, and which artists would you like to headline?
Anders: I would want to support Depeche Mode, headlining is a much more difficult question but Goldfrapp would be fun!
Yaz: I would support all the organizations for animals but I have no idea of which bands I would ask to honour the evening. Perhaps Muse and IAMX?
Grave Concerns: Favorite number, color and symbol?
Anders: That would be the number 7, the colour red and the symbol of my sign: the trident.
Yaz: Black (though it’s not a colour), 13 and the symbol of the Klingon Empire in Star-Trek! (Yes. I am a big “trekkie”)
Grave Concerns: If your were to write a short story or a novel based on one of your songs, which one would it be? And if it was to be adapted to the silver screen, who would be your leading actor and actress?
Anders: I would write a story based upon the song Derrick is a Strange Machine, I would cast Joseph Fiennes and Liv Tyler in the leads and as the villain I would choose the inimitable Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Yaz: I’d write about Derrick is a Strange Machine or Corsair. They’re both perfect for the “silver screen” and I’m sure you could make a really good movie out of them. My leading actress would be Sinead O’Connor and my actor would be either Hugh Jackman or Chris Corner.
Grave Concerns: As musicians, how does the music in movies affect you? And if you were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, which genera would that be in? Now let me take that question even further---actually backward; if you were to go back to the past, with your current music in hand, and were asked that same question, would any of your songs stand out as a good fit? If so, which song and movie would it have been?
Anders: Bare your teeth would’ve been great in any of the X-men movies, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) really knows how to let it all out.
Yaz: I don’t know actually. I think it’s a tough and tricky question. To be honest, I’m having difficulties trying to answer it or even picture the scenario in my head. Why? Because movies are also a kind of art and I can’t interfere someone else’s with ours. Do I make any sense? *big smile*
Grave Concerns: Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the following:
1. The Emerald reflected…
2. As the papers whipped across my face…
3. Her gown was like…
4. He said only one word…
5. The hurt felt is…
Yaz: I’m truly way to tired for this game *laughs*
Grave Concerns: Here’s another game I like to call “Would You Rather”…
1.Be covered in liquid latex while lying on a beach during high tide.
2.Painted in warm honey and sprinkled with green and purple M&Ms.
3.Be dressed like a mannequin in a fetish shop, where you get to keep three outfits you’ve chosen to wear.
Anders: Definitely number three, there aren’t really any fetish shops in Sweden and it would be great to try some stuff at, for example, Marquis or Skin Two.
Yaz: I don’t know how to answer it but I think the answer is given in any case, number three. Without a doubt!
Grave Concerns: What would you like to say to your fans right now?
Anders: I seriously don’t know, we’re still getting used to the thought of actually having fans. I would like to thank them for being there, but words aren’t enough sometimes.
Yaz: Thank you for your tireless support! I love each and every one of you and I can’t wait to see all of you again. Also, thank you for buying the album instead of downloading it!
Grave Concerns: Anything else you care to share with us about yourself and your music?
Anders: Actually we’ve probably shared more than enough already *laughs*.
Yaz: For all of those wondering if I have an eating disorder, NO, I don’t. It runs in the family to be very petite *smile*
Grave Concerns: Anders and Yasmine, it’s been such an awesome pleasure to learn more about your and your music. You are so amazingly interesting and talented! We here at Grave Concerns wish your album “Three Cheers for the Newlydeads” to be a smashing success. Please keep in touch. Cheers!
For more information on “Ashbury Heights” check out http://www.myspace.com/ashburyheightsmusic
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