phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
“It’s a gig, in an art installation, in part of a building you’ve never been in before” - an interview with the Klanghaus
Image Credit: The Photographic Unit

“It’s a gig, in an art installation, in part of a building you’ve never been in before” - an interview with the Klanghaus

14 July 2017 Will Rathbone

Klanghaus: 800 Breaths is the follow-up to last year’s On Air, the result of a long-standing collaboration between art-rock band The Neutrinos and visual artist Sal Pittman. Taking a space in the Royal Festival Hall that is normally off-limits to the public, the show transforms the space into an immersive gig-cum-installation show, delivering an unforgettable live experience. We spoke to band member Karen Reilly and Sal Pittman about the show’s origins and exactly how the entire process comes together.

London Calling: Hello Klanghaus! Thank you very much for speaking with us today. For the uninitiated, please could you tell us a little bit about yourselves, and the show?

Karen Reilly: Klanghaus is a collaboration between building, music and light. On a very simple level it’s a gig, in an art installation, in part of a building you’ve never been in before. It’s promenade, so you walk through it. People have said they feel like they’re in the middle of music, or a music video because the lighting is so gorgeous.
 
Sal Pittman: It’s a film without a narrative. You leave the audience to fill in the gaps by giving them glimpses of ideas and thought processes. It’s very dreamlike. It’s nice for an audience because they’re not being told how to feel – we’re giving them a sound, some imagery and a space and they can feel whatever they personally feel. It’s a real privilege.


Image courtesy of The Photographic Unit
 
LC: This is your second year at the Royal Festival Hall – how was it returning to the space and devising a new show?

KR: It’s really interesting because we always thought we’d never return to the same building, but we’d built such a good relationship with the Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank Centre and the staff that we thought we had to go back, push the limits and make the show even more extraordinary. The building is so rich in history that for us to come up with a new theme was easy.
 
SP: 800 Breaths comes from the average number of breaths you’ll take in a 50-minute period. For the imagery, I thought about breathing at altitude, or underwater, and what you need to assist that. I was looking at really old technology such as aqualungs, and old vintage imagery of diving and physics experiments with electricity. All these little abstract images and thought processes started to form a picture. What’s lovely about this building is that you can always find a new story somewhere and build a beautiful picture from that.


Image courtesy of The Photographic Unit 

LC: How did the project come about in the first place?

KR: It came about when we went to Berlin to record a new album. We couldn’t find a studio, so we found a space and took loads of equipment in. The building turned out to be this extraordinary radio station. It really sparked our imagination and we became obsessed with buildings.
 
That obsession was one part of it, and another came from being in a band for years, playing lots of gigs, and starting to think: “this is such a conservative format. Music can really transport you and change your life, so surely there’s more to a music experience than this?” At the same time art galleries and museums were doing late night events, and were looking for different types of artists and musicians to go along and do stuff. We asked a gallery if we could muck about with a tunnel they’d just put in, and hide behind the walls, and so that playful exploratory element came in.
 
SP: Mark came up with the name Klanghaus when we were in Berlin. We all came up with names and he decided to be Herr Klang. We originally wanted to take the subsequent album and imagery back to perform it in that building – to take it back to it’s source – and it became Klanghaus because of that.
 
LC: How do you find your buildings? Are there any you’d like to work in?

KR: After we’d realised we had this love of buildings we imagined being explorers and finding amazing spaces, but actually people approached us and said: “I think I’ve got a Klanghaus”. That happened in Colchester, and we went and played in a bus depot. There are couple of dream buildings: friends have said we have to go and do something in the Sydney Opera House, and one of the London theatres, I think it’s The Queen’s Theatre, goes down three or four levels so we’d love to get in there. I think The Barbican need a Klanghaus!


Image courtesy of The Photographic Unit
 
LC: How do the songwriting and imagery fit into the process?

KR: Some songs are written for the space, and it’s really lovely writing so specifically. Then, because we have a large back catalogue, there are songs that fit perfectly, but need a bit of re-writing to match the acoustics. We’re always trying to use the acoustic to its advantage.
 
SP: It’s very symbiotic – we develop the space together, we research it and then we go off and work through ideas. Then we take all those ideas into the space and form the show that way. It’s very reactive and very instinctive. It’s seamless how the sound and vision work together.
 
I’m a bit obsessed with soundtracks, and the way the piece develops becomes very soundtrack-like within the space. It’s a triumvirate of sorts – building, music and art all coming together, and we’re all responding to that at the same time and bouncing off each other.
 
LC: Who are your musical influences?

SP: I’m really inspired by soundtracks, and I listen to a lot while I’m working. I love Bernard Herrmann, and recently I’ve been listening to the Nocturnal Animals soundtrack. There’s the great Sound of Cinema show on Radio 3 that I listen to all the time, and I listen to Kraftwerk quite a lot. I like things that give you a real landscape while you’re working. You see space, and work towards that.
 
Klanghaus: 800 Breaths is at the Southbank Centre until July 23. Tickets are £25.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

An interview with theatremaker Hannah Ringham

An interview with theatremaker Hannah Ringham

Hannah Ringham is a theatre maker with a rich background in creating some of the most groundbreaking devised theatre of the last decade. One of…

This Week September 18-24

This Week September 18-24

Two huge exhibitions dominate this week’s cultural calendar, as the Barbican Centre’s highly anticipated Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition opens two days before the Royal Academy’s enormous Jasper…

Win One of Five Pairs of Tickets to Symphonic Queen Concert!

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Win One of Five Pairs of Tickets to Symphonic Queen Concert!

Experience a night of Queen’s greatest hits, performed by the amplified Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall.

London Design Festival 2017 Preview

London Design Festival 2017 Preview

The 2017 London Design Festival is absolutely enormous, encompassing several huge trade fairs, nine Design Districts across London and a number of further installations and…

The Best Theatre in London this September

The Best Theatre in London this September

September is finally here, the London theatre scene kicks off once more, and the brief sojourn in Edinburgh means some excellent shows will soon start…

Resurgence Festival of Wellbeing

Resurgence Festival of Wellbeing

Britain’s flagship green magazine Resurgence (now called Resurgence & Ecologist) will be holding its fifth Festival of Wellbeing on Saturday 23 September.

The 15th London African Music Festival

The 15th London African Music Festival

The unique and exciting festival from Joyful Noise is back this September!

Win Private View Invites and a Bottle of Bubbly!

Photoblock - Win Private View Invites and a Bottle of Bubbly!

We're giving away a bundle of Private View exhibition tickets and a bottle of bubbly!

A natural-born performer: Susan Wokoma interview

A natural-born performer: Susan Wokoma interview

Susan Wokoma is a Southwark-born actor and writer who rose to prominence as Raquel in the cult television show Crazyhead. Since then, Wokoma has appeared…

MADE LONDON - Early Bird Tickets!

MADE LONDON - Early Bird Tickets!

Get your £5 tickets to an incredible design and craft fair this October.

Most popular

Win a 3 Course Meal with Wine at Drake and Morgan

KXCQ - Win a 3 Course Meal with Wine at Drake and Morgan

We're giving away an indulgent meal for two people to enjoy in King's Cross.
Win 4 Tickets to Climb an Iconic London Landmark

Up at The O2 - Win 4 Tickets to Climb an Iconic London Landmark

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable 90 minute experience on the roof of The O2!
Win One of Five Pairs of Tickets to Symphonic Queen Concert!

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Win One of Five Pairs of Tickets to Symphonic Queen Concert!

Experience a night of Queen’s greatest hits, performed by the amplified Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall.
Win Tickets to an Exclusive Spanish Art Event!

Wallace Collection - Win Tickets to an Exclusive Spanish Art Event!

Join us for an after-hours tour and drinks reception at an exhibition of stunning Spanish artwork.
Win a Meal for Two People

Off the Wall & onto the Plate - Win a Meal for Two People

Your chance to win a seven-course meal of deliciously decorative dishes!
Win two stand-up comedy tickets, food and drinks!

Pizza Express Live - Win two stand-up comedy tickets, food and drinks!

Win two tickets, plus food and drink, to Andrew Ryan, Phil Jerrod and Ivo Graham at Pizza Express Live
Win Private View Tickets!

MADE LONDON - Win Private View Tickets!

This October, meet designers and craftspeople and buy beautiful handmade objects at MADE LONDON.
Win Tickets to an Opening Night Concert

London Piano Festival - Win Tickets to an Opening Night Concert

Your chance to win tickets to a night of beautiful piano music, including Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Liszt.
Rhythm Passport Tickets Giveaway

Rhythm Passport Tickets Giveaway

Our lovely friends at Rhythm Passport are giving away lots of free gig tickets!

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!