It’s Kannentime! This is the party battle cry of Cologne’s beloved Vegan Punkabilly/Pop/Indie band The Sewer Rats. Former member and founder Pete Lensing, who now plays Contra Bass in my band, introduced them to me. The idea of The Sewer Rats was a marriage of Punk with Billy-Contra Bass and it worked. Really worked.
The boys in the band are charming, really funny, talented, sweet, gorgeous, fun loving, radical, vegan GENTLEMEN!
Caught up with Chris & Schorni before they left for their second Japan tour. I loved meeting these guys and their awesome girlfriends and Kumpels (Homies). We sat on the grounds of this summer’s Sjock Festival, where I played for the first time with my band, and chatted (in English and “Denglish”) about collaboration, veganism, responsibility and fun!
The Soundcloud podcast is an experiment in dual language interview. The first half is is English and the second is in Denglish and German. Collaboration is a process that we all keep learning how to navigate!
Chris: These kicks are vegan and sweatshop free, right?
Saudia: They’re vegan and sweatshop free! So it’s totally, political, cool, green. Cool designs. You know Chucks. They have a total transparent/progressive relationship with where they are made, which is Pakistan. Johanna, one of the designers goes there.
What we are doing is through Soundscape, I interview artists, who are amazing as artist but who also have some kind of connection with being aware and caring about what the fuck is happening to our planet. So, that’s why I am interviewing the Sewer Rats. This is Chris Gin (the lead singer).
Chris: My personal view on animal politics. Do you mean stuff like that? I turned vegetarian when I was seventeen, because of the lyrics of a band I was listening to called Propagandhi, they are from Canada. I just tried it, to skip the meat. My favorite food back then was pizza, so, it was very easy to go vegetarian and just get the fungi pizza. I was seventeen.
I started flirting with other things like veganism, where stuff is made, and you kind of just expand your horizon and think about stuff. You want to know where your kicks are made or your pants are from or what ever. Once you’re in that kind of state of mind there is just no way back. You have to come down once in a while because it’s not good to worry the whole day, you know it can break you down, but I think it’s good and healthy to think about stuff and where it’s from.
Saudia: There’s so many throw away (disposable) things, like from H&M. I’m guilty, I’ve gone and bought that emergency thing but in general ‘throw away’ clothes? It’s so devastating. To the planet and to people and to Africa, the planet, it’s just crazy … Take your vest for example. So, you got the jeans vest that you added your own patches to, so you basically created your own design.
Chris: Yes, and this is second hand as well and I think Schorni (Bass player/singer) bought it …
Saudia: What do you feel about collaboration?
Chris: Music wise, touring and I think you mentioned album production. It’s always cool to work with different people. You mean in terms of clothing or something?
Saudia: No! That was fine. Most people have answered in the context of musicians. Right now we’re collaborating between you, me, and Ethletic. That’s a whole thing now, where companies really want to get close to us, as artists and people because we’re connected to the public and it’s all a relationship. So we’re influencers.
Chris: It’s cool, everybody helping each other out. There they are coming (Schorni, Walker Puck Lensing and the gang with more beer). Hey Peter! Schorni! Interview time!
Saudia: Wie lang habt sie zusammen gespielt?
Chris: Also, wir beide spielen seit 2010 zusammen.
Shorni: Genau, seit sieben Jahren spielen wir beide zusammen bei den Sewer Rats.
Saudia: Bist du (seid ihr) ein politisches Band, oder nur die Leute in der Band sind politisch? Weißt du, was es meint?
Chris: Ich weiß genau was du meinst. Also, die Lyrics sind bisher nur insofern politisch, wie wir über Sachen singen. Unsere Leben sind auch so schon politisch. Wir führen Leben, die nicht mainstream sind und der personal stuff ist dann politisch: zu sagen ‘don’t eat this’ blah blah blah … eher personal politics.
Schorni: Und das geben wir auch so weiter.
Saudia: Wir sind in Deutschland. Und ich liebe Berlin. Ich sehe Arabisch, Turkish, Skin Heads. Alle. Das mag ich.
Schorni: Ich mags in Deutschland, mh. Ich möchte jetzt nicht behaupten, dass ich da weg möchte.
Saudia: [more horrible German Blah Blah]
Saudia: Kochst du gerne?
Schorni: Nee, ich koch nicht gerne.
Saudia: Was ist dein Lieblings-recipe?
Shorni: Brot. Mein Lieblingsessen ist Brot.
Chris: Ich mach sehr sehr gerne veganes Chili aus Sojakrümel und Bohnen. Davon muss man viel pupsen. Am Besten im Proberaum, wenn man gerade einen 3 1/2 Minuten Song angefangen hat …
Schorni: Dann müssen es alle aushalten!
Saudia: What is the role of the artist in revolution?
Chris: Fight the power and make authentic music.
Saudia: What do you do when you are not making music?
Heartbreaks and Milkshakes
I Don’t Like You (When Your Girl’s Around)
Aka: Chris Gin: Lead Guitar & Vocals , Schorni Walker: Bass and Danny Dillinger: Drums
Interview conducted by Saudia Young