4SEE Spotlight on Jan Wagner, photo by Bert Spangemacher

SPOTLIGHT ON JAN WAGNER

4SEE meets up with Jan Wagner: pianist, composer, producer and all the musical spaces in-between.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text F. GONZALEZ

As the offspring of a music teacher with his own home music school, Jan Wagner’s musical influence were deep-seated at an early age. He developed an affinity for the process of composing music that would lead him to develop his skills as a producer and sound engineer. In his formative years, Jan worked at the lauded Faust Studio in Scheer, Germany, where he furthered his production education by working in close contact with many artists.

Taking to the piano since the age of 5, Jan is a triple threat of musician, composer, producer and instrumentalist that would lead him to produce his own music that could be characterised as: neo-classical, ambient, electronica. Since 2017 Jan has been writing and composing his own music to release in his own name for his debut album Nummern (Numbers) in 2018.

With a lifetime of musical education and studio experience, Jan Wagner’s music doesn’t stay within the traditional instrumental expectations but rather explores minimalism that let’s the listener engage with what is and what is not there rather than “wall of sound” that needs to fill every space.

In March, 2020, Jan had released his second album Kapitel (Chapters) but the global pandemic has hit pause on all public activities.

Interview:  04/2020 with Jan Wagner4SEE Spotlight on Jan Wagner, photo by Bert Spangemacher

Artist Name Jan Wagner
Genre Ambient / Electronica
Based in Berlin
Playing together since ever
Recent Album Kapitel (Chapters)
Listen on bandcamp /  YouTubewww.quietloverecords.com

Describe your band / music / style in three words.

Ambient. Piano. Electronica.

What did you listen to when growing up?

I was listening to a lot of rap music. I have a big brother and I always wanted to hang out with him and his friends. They listened to Eminem, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, so I, by default, was also listening to these artists. Later on, I got more into stuff like Ben Howard or Bon Iver.

Music icon(s) and the reason why.

I don’t really have a music icon, but if I had to name a single artist that has influenced me a lot I would say it was Bruce Hornsby. When I was a child I wanted to learn the song “Changes“ from Tupac. I went to my piano teacher and told him about this track. He started laughing and told me about the original track which is “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby. I was astonished by his piano playing. He has a very unique technique, in how he mixes chords with melodies and does it with just one hand. That influenced me a lot. I try to always keep it as simple and meaningful as possible.

Who are you listening to right now?

It really depends on the mood that I’m in. But definitely a lot of Kendrick Lamar. He is a genius and mastermind. His producing and writing is beyond everything and stands for itself. The narrative scope and the metaphorical layers, and how he is constantly developing as an artist. Right now, I’m listening to the new record from Roger and Brian Eno. It´s a beautiful piece of music and you really can get lost in it! I highly recommend it!

What is the craziest or funniest thing that’s happened on tour?

The craziest thing happened two weeks ago when I had to postpone my tour because of the Corona epidemic. It was such a weird situation. Nobody was on the streets anymore. All the clubs and bars were empty, so I gave the crew at the venue where we were supposed to play a little, private concert. It felt super surreal, sitting in front of all these empty chairs and only the crew watching.

4SEE Spotlight on Jan Wagner, photo by Bert Spangemacher
4SEE Spotlight on Jan Wagner
Eyewear by SALT. Spencer

Favourite performance venues or music festivals? And why?

There was a tiny festival near my hometown called ‘No Stress’. It was such a lovely place. The stage was located deep inside the woods. The capacity was 2,000 people maximum, so quite approachable and intimate. It was always at the beginning of summer. The mixture between the festival vibe and then being in the woods was just magical. I had a lot of great moments there. In the evening, they lit up the woods and the cornfields. It was beautiful and surreal.

Three words to describe your fans.

Polite, Gentle and Honest!

Favourite eyewear brand?

My favourite eyewear brand is “Lunettes”. For a couple of years now, I am wearing the “Noblesse oblige” glasses. I’m truly in love with them. Last year I lost them while hiking. They slipped out of my pocket and I only noticed it when we were back at the parking lot. I felt so dumb, and I decided to go back to the top of the mountain because I really wanted them back. And I found them!

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?

My second album “Kapitel“ came out this March and I just finished an album together with Dimitri Käch. He´s an excellent guitar player and makes stunning dark ambient music. The album is called “Porto Do Son“. Named after a region in Galicia, Spain where Dimi and I used to go surfing. Last year we spent some time down there and decided to capture this beautiful energy in the music. So we went straight to the studio, didn’t waste words conceptualising the project, and just pressed record. On May 1st, we will release the first single called “Faro”!

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?

That’s a difficult question. Before the corona epidemic the answer would be much simpler, but now we have to reconstruct ourselves, so to speak. It’s hard to tell what will come next in these strange days. I just hope we’ll all make it through this crisis and reconnect to our beautiful earth and culture, in a sustainable way. Now we have the chance to change from a wasteful society into a more responsible one. Endless consumption is over. We have to focus on what we really need, and I think we understand now how important it is to have a thriving culture because we all miss it right now! And, of course, going on tour again, and playing live in front of real people.

Jan Wagner, German musician, photo by Bert Spangemacher
4SEE Spotlight on Jan Wagner
Eyewear by SALT. Henderson
4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath's atelier in Berlin

4SEE’s Foremost – Isabel Vollrath: Fashion Design as Objects of Art and Why Conscious Consumerism Will Be Even More Important after COVID-19

Isabel Vollrath is a Berlin-based fashion designer who works at the intersection of fine art and couture, and runs her own label, I’VR Isabel Vollrath, since 2015. Born in Freiburg, Vollrath studied fashion at Berlin-Weissensee School of Art, and has received a number of awards, both nationally and internationally, for her designs. Vollrath’s background in tailoring and long-held interest in sculpture combine to form wearable art objects—‘three-dimensional drawings’—in sync with the body, yet precisely structured. Both forward-looking and anchored in craft and historical perspective, Vollrath’s limited-edition designs speak to her desire to steer away from the demands of consumer culture. Her label is featured at Berlin Fashion Week and also operates as a made-to-measure atelier. With expressive forms and materials—from airy yet structural cottons, layered tulle, to textural corduroys and denim—Vollrath’s finely tailored, abstract pieces inevitably display a concern for the figure.

4SEE Foremost spoke with Isabel Vollrath and got some insight into what is behind her current philosophy, and uncertainty in the time of Covid-19.

Interview from March 2020.

Name Isabel Vollrath
Age 40
Nationality German
Based in Berlin
Website www.isabelvollrath.com
Instagram @ivr_isabelvollrath

4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath
4SEE’s Foremost – Berlin-based fashion designer, Isabel Vollrath
Photography by Det Nissen

Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate. Sophisticated. Visionary.

Style Icon(s) and the reason why.
My style icons are authentic and individual, showing a strong vision of their own personality. Current female icons: Vivienne Westwood, Tilda Swinton, Björk. Regarding the past: Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dietrich. Male icons: Rudolf Nurejew, Karl Lagerfeld.

Favorite eyewear brand?
My father is an optician, so I grew up with glasses and many eyewear brands. I like the style of Dior, Balenciaga and Versace women’s eyewear—as the “big classics”—but also the filigree Lindberg, Silhouettes , not to forget Ferragamo, Cartier and Bulgari.

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
I followed my childhood dream and became a fashion designer.

4SEE's Foremost - Isabel Vollrath's atelier in Berlin
4SEE’s Foremost – Isabel Vollrath

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project?
Well, a few days ago my answers would have been completely different. Currently, we are all paralised by Covid-19—with no certitude as to how the next weeks and months will change our lives.
On January 10, 2020 I was turning 40 and I thought: “Great! What numerology! What a date! Let’s start the new decade!” I was full of energy, open to new perspectives and changes—in general, not only regarding my fashion label.
For months I’ve felt a strong need for reflection and have questioned the direction in which society is heading… It is insane to produce and buy large amounts of “everything”; it is insane to feed the world with millions of offers, news, posts, technical innovations; it is insane when your iPhone becomes your best friend. Look into your neighbour’s eyes, not onto your screen! And please keep your app out of the gym!
Why don’t big companies STOP inciting consumerism??

I tried to find peace and answers in my frequent yoga and ballet practice.
I tried to find out where my creativity is really needed and welcome.
I decided to “manifest” my fashion label as “couture and made-to-measure atelier”, away from the pressure of seasonable products that are already considered “waste” when they are on the market.
I decided to “cool down” instead of getting ready for the next Fashion Week.
I decided to open my mind and eyes to what is going on “out there”.
And what happened?

Unexpected projects arrived. I was asked to create the costumes for a theatre production in Vienna.
A film director, two artists and a ballet company wanted me to collaborate.
I felt happy, looking forward to new edges—beyond the struggles of the fashion market.
Too soon. Covid-19 appeared.
Last week: the cultural collapse.
This week: no yoga and ballet classes.
What now?

It is nature’s revenge.
We now have to rethink, stick together, help each other where possible, and find solutions for a common future—far away from what we were used to.
…if we need Covid-19 to let the atmosphere exhale and to clean the canals in Venice, then it is more than urgent to act and react.

Your fashion philosophy / Styling tips.
Buy less, buy better. Buy local.

Three words to describe your customer.
Self-confident. Determined. Avant-garde.

teepee, dream pop duo from Prague, photographed by Bert Spangemacher

SPOTLIGHT ON teepee
Emerging from a burgeoning indie music Prague scene, dream pop / indie folk duo teepee promotes hope and empowerment.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text F. GONZALEZ

In their first tetrad as a musical duo, teepee have created their own dreamlike soundscape fostered since their first meeting in a Pilsen high school. With an intrinsic love of music, both Tereza Lavičková and Miroslav Patočka have taken to the guitar as their instrument of choice to create their unique hypnotic ethereal indie folk mark—a sound they have been nurturing since the debut of their first release Albatross in 2016.

From humble musical beginnings of playing in pubs and clubs, teepee have emerged from a burgeoning indie music Prague scene to festivals where they have shared their music to bigger crowds.

An indie folk duo in essence, they forge their sound with layers of electronica, weaving distortions, spectral beats and repurposing fretted instruments throughout that share space with Sigur Rós, Björk or Aurora. When not performing, teepee gain inspiration in their private time and share their ideas in the studio happily lost for hours evolving their sound and striving to master sonic technology.

Interview:  02/2020 with teepee

teepee, a dream pop duo from Prague, photo by Bert Spangemacher
teepee
Tereza Lavičková (vocals / electric guitar) // Miroslav Patočka (vocals / acoustic guitar, synth) 
Tereza wears RAY-BAN Hexagonal Optics // Miroslav wears OLIVER PEOPLES Rikson

Artist Name teepee
Genre dream pop / indie folk
Members Tereza Lavičková (vocals / electric guitar), Miroslav Patočka (vocals / acoustic guitar, synth)
Based in Prague
Playing together since 2015
Recent Album Where the Ocean Breaks
Listen to us on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYoutubeInstagramSpotify

Describe your band / music / style in three words.
Tereza: Dreamy, emotional, honest.

What did you listen to when growing up?
Tereza: Different kinds of music, but my grandma introduced me to jazz and swing when I was very little. So artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra are always gonna be my dirty pleasure.

Miroslav: My dad is a big country music lover, so I was mostly surrounded by country or folk tunes.

Music icon(s) and the reason why.
Tereza: For me it’s Norwegian artist Aurora. I just love the way she makes music, so honest and pure. I can listen to her songs over and over and they still make me tear up. Also Billie Eilish’s journey is really inspiring.

Miroslav: I am a huge fan of all Justin Vernon’s projects such as Bon Iver, Volcano Choir or the Big Red Machine, mostly for his openness to musical expressions and honesty in his music.

teepee, dream pop duo from Prague, photographed by Bert Spangemacher
teepee
Miroslav Patočka (vocals / acoustic guitar, synth) // Tereza Lavičková (vocals / electric guitar)
Miroslav wears RAY-BAN Tucson RB5382 // Tereza wears RAY-BAN Round Solid Evolve RB3447

Who are you listening to right now?
Miroslav: Apart from trying to fill the gaps in Pink Floyd’s discography I currently really enjoy Rob Lewis, Karina or Conner Youngblood.

Tereza: I totally love the new album from King Princess!

What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour?
Tereza: I think one of the craziest things was when we played at Grape Festival two summers ago. The trip was a disaster from the beginning to the end. First, on the way there both of our cars collapsed and we had to take a very expensive taxi from Uherské Hradiště to Piešťany. When we arrived to the festival a huge thunderstorm started. Our show was the next day and we didn’t have any tent ‘cause we were planning to sleep at our cars. So all 7 of us had to stay in our friend’s very tiny car with our stuff as well. There was basically no space at all and our manager ended up sleeping in the trunk of the car together with his girlfriend. When you close yourself in the trunk of a car you can’t actually open it from inside so they got stuck there and woke us all up in the morning yelling and kicking so we would let them out…

Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why?
Tereza: I really liked Colours of Ostrava, it is an awesome festival, plus we had a good show there.

Miroslav: I really like Café v Lese in Prague, it always has a great atmosphere and it almost feels like our music home. Apart from that, I totally fell in love with A38 Hajó which is a gorgeous venue on a boat in Budapest with an amazing production team.

Three words to describe your fans.
Tereza: Cool, loving, kind.

teepee – dreaming unique hypnotic ethereal indie folk from Prague, photo by Bert Spangemacher
teepee
Tereza Lavičková (vocals / electric guitar) // Miroslav Patočka (vocals / acoustic guitar, synth)
Tereza wears RAY-BAN Hexagonal Optics // Miroslav wears RAY-BAN Round Solid Evolve RB3447 

Favorite eyewear brand?
Tereza: Bay Ban! Which is Indian alternative of Ray Ban! It was so hilarious to me that I bought like 4 pairs of these while I was in India.

Miroslav: Still exploring, but I’d probably stick with the old good classic Ray Ban (mostly because I haven’t got the chance to try the Bay Ban yet).

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?
Tereza: We just released a new album “Where the Ocean Breaks” and we are going on our first bigger European tour as a support for the British band Seafret. So it is a quite busy and exciting time for us!

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?
Tereza: I would love to have a house in some village near Prague with my own studio, where I would be making music till the day I die.

Miroslav: Same here! In terms of our band we hope to keep on doing what we love, which is making and recording music and getting a chance to play it to as many people as possible, while hopefully exploring new places.

Tereza Lavičková from teepee, photographed by Bert Spangemacher
teepee
Tereza Lavičková (vocals / electric guitar)
Eyewear by RAY-BAN Round Solid Evolve RB3447
teepee's Miroslav Patočka, photo by Bert Spangemacher
teepee
Miroslav Patočka (vocals / acoustic guitar, synth)
Eyewear by RAY-BAN Tucson RB5382
Seafret photographed by Bert Spangemacher at raw studios berlin

SPOTLIGHT ON SEAFRET
4SEE meets up with Seafret, an indie pop, folk duo from a coastal town of UK.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text F. GONZALEZ

Chance meetings just may be this duo’s charm; a fortuitous introduction at an open mic night was the beginning of this Bridlington UK duo and also the moment when music producer Ross Hamilton, in the crowd, saw them play in a pub. Since 2011, vocalist Jack Sedman, guitarist and pianist Harry Draper have been cultivating their sound that reflects their upbringing and experiences in a coastal town.

Like a “seafret”, mist coming inland, their music is neoteric folding waves of atmospheric sound on top of their acoustic-folk core. The duo come from dissonant musical influences but converge to produce indie-acoustic-folk songs of honesty, love, longing, failure and redemption. Seafret is centred on an earnestness to let the music connect on its own.

This year Seafret is on tour sharing their upcoming release–Most Of Us Are Strangers.

Interview:  02/2020 with Seafret

British indie Pop Duo Seafret by Bert Spangemacher
SEAFRET
Jack Sedman (vocals) // Harry Draper (guitar/piano)

Artist Name Seafret
Genre Indie Pop, Folk
Members Jack Sedman (vocals), Harry Draper (guitar/piano)
Based in Bridlington, UK
Playing since 2011
Listen to us on www.seafret.com

Describe your band / music / style in three words.
Harry—Our music varies a lot from track to track so choosing three words is a tricky one! We would have to say exposed, honest, explosive.

What did you listen to when growing up?
Jack—We both listened to very different things growing up. Harry was into blues and bluegrass music as he was shown them by his dad and I was influenced by my parents who were into more left field music like Tom Waits and The Pixies.

Music icon(s) and the reason why.
Harry—My icon would have to be John Martyn. His style influenced the way I play guitar today and he was the reason I wanted to play.

Jack—My main influence when I really got into music was Bob Dylan. He was the one who showed me how powerful simple melody and chords could be.

portraits of SEAFRET at raw studios berlin
SEAFRET
Harry Draper (guitar/piano) // Jack Sedman (vocals) // Eyewear by PERSOL Calligrapher Edition PO3166S

Who are you listening to right now?
Jack—We listen to everything we can and try not to shy away from any genres. Michael Kiwankuka has been played a lot in the house recently. Also been listening to Oliver Tree and Hobo Johnson. Both are pretty out there but full of amazing production and lyrics.

What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour?
Jack—Every day on tour is mental but one that comes to mind is when we were in America we ended up in a room with Liberace’s piano. It was surreal and full of diamonds. Harry had a little play on it. ‘Course he did….

Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why?
Harry—Two come to mind, our first show in Brazil was insane! The crowds were wild and sang every word. The other was our first time playing Glastonbury, we must have had 5,000 people in a tiny tent, the crowd just went on and on outside and people were trying to get in….that was an experience we’ll never forget!

Three words to describe your fans.
Jack—Honest, loving and slightly crazy.

Favorite eyewear brand?
Harry—We both tend to wear Ray-Ban, being from the north of England we don’t get many opportunities to wear them! Hence why we like playing abroad so much 🙂

Seafret, Jack and Harry shot by Bert Spangemacher
SEAFRET
Jack Sedman (vocals) Eyewear by OLIVER PEOPLES Rikson // Harry Draper (guitar/piano) Eyewear by RAY-BAN Aviator Classic

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?
Harry—The tour will happen and the album is coming out about half-way through it! We can’t bloody wait! It’s the best feeling ever. [note: Seafret is currently on tour as of 26 Feb. 2020)

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?
Jack—We would like to see the fan-base of Seafret grow as much as we can without forcing people to like it haha! We feel super lucky to have the chance to do this and will always be grateful for the fans we have. We do this because we love it; no other reason. We’ve put everything we have into this album and we hope everyone enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Seafret vocalist Jack Sedman by Bert spangemacher
Jack Sedman (vocals) wears OLIVER PEOPLES Rikson
Seafret guitarist Harry Draper by Bert spangemacher
Harry Draper (guitarist / pianist) wears RAY-BAN Aviator Classic
Current Swell 2020 Photo by Bert Spangemacher

SPOTLIGHT ON CURRENT SWELL
4SEE catches up with British Columbia band Current Swell on their tour with their 7th album Buffalo.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text F. GONZALEZ

“Unscheduled time” is the motto of this British Columbia band. The time between music and life that is employed to bring about balance. A balance between surfing, home, family, down time and music. A way of life they’ve had since starting out playing in backyards and beaches. Not to be misconstrued for being too easy-going, Current Swell is presently on tour promoting their 7th Studio album–Buffalo.

By leveraging time, patience and technology, the band has built a loyal fanbase through homemade CDs, online streaming and social media, even before releasing a proper studio record. Current Swell’s devotees are a mix of the true-and-tested from the DIY days and those that have joined them after their studio release.

Victoria, their home base and a vibrant artistic community, influences the band’s sound that coalesces rock, blues, reggae, folk and even ska. They may be indie-folk at heart but expect upbeat, thoughtful, hardcore introspection and get-up-and-dance energy.

Interview:  02/2020 with Current Swell

Current Swell 2020 shot by Bert Spangemacher
CURRENT SWELL
(from left to right) Evan Miller (vocals/guitar), Louie Sadava (bass), Scott Stanton (vocals/lead guitar), Dave St. Jean (trombone), Marcus Manhas (drums), Phil Hamelin (keys/trumpet)

Artist Name Current Swell
Genre Indie Rock
Members Scott Stanton (vocals/lead guitar), Louis Sadava (bass), Marcus Manhas (drums)
Based in  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Playing since 2005
Listen to us on CurrentSwell.com

Describe your band / music / style in three words.
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. !! Haha ok for real though that’s a tough one. How about raw, energetic and engaging.

What did you listen to when growing up?
So many different phases of musical inspirations. From hip hop like Tribe Called Quest to punk rock like the Clash and folk like Neil Young.

Music icon(s) and the reason why.
Have to say Neil Young and his prolific songwriting for so many years. He’s really stayed true to his roots and also explored different inspiration and style at the same time. Also he’s a Canadian legend:)

Awesome Current Swell photographed at raw studios. Berlin
CURRENT SWELL
(From left to right) Dave St. Jean wears Barton Perreira, Evan Miller wears Coblens, Marcus Manhas wears VAVA, Scott Stanton wears Coblens, Louie Sadava wears Barton Perreira, Phil Hamelin wears Coblens

Who are you listening to right now?
Really loving the new Mac Miller album and also mourning the loss of such an original voice. Also Tame Impala is a go to. Kevin Morby’s new album is great and fellow Canadian Andy Shauf has a nice new album. Mura Masa is a new favourite.

What is the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour?
One time this company in Berlin took our picture and gave us free glasses! Crazy! Haha so many things happen on tour it’s hard to remember single things. Today, the ferry ride to Ireland was so rough there were a lot of unhappy green people. A crazy time was about 10 years ago when a gang of kids with chains attacked us loading out from a venue and we barely got away. A funny story from the road was when we opened for the Beach Boys and an older guy in dirty sweat pants came up to us backstage and said he liked our songs, Scott asked him if he was the janitor, and he laughed, and said no–he is the bass player for the Beach Boys. Oopsies.

Favorite performance venues or music festivals? And why?
We love playing at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Byron Bay Blues in Australia fest was a major highlight. Also love the Melkweg in Amsterdam and loved playing at Columbiahalle in Berlin.

Three words to describe your fans.
Loyal, fun and suuuper sweetie.

Current Swell members photographed by Bert Spangemacher
(From left to right) Evan Miller wears Coblens, Dave St. Jean wears Barton Perreira, Scott Stanton wears Yuichi Toyama

Favorite eyewear brand?
Oliver Peoples, Garrett Leight, Moscot, R.T.Co.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?
After the summer festival time we will get back into writing and recording some new music. New songs keep the project exciting and fun.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?
We’ve been doing this for a while now, so in the next 10 years I could see things changing in terms of people starting families and maybe doing a little less touring but we will always play music together and hopefully people will still come to see us.

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