In the 1970s KRAAN were a German jazz rock institution. After several break-ups, the band from Ulm has been active again since 2000 and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Appropriately, the new studio work "Sandglass" was released in October - a wonderfully light-hearted album on which Hellmut Hattler (vocals, bass), Peter Wolbrandt (vocals, guitar, synthesizer) and Jan Fride (drums) make music together in an almost telepathic way
Hellmut Hattler is noticeably proud of "Sandglass", which was created at the time of the lockdown and contains 13 compact pieces that were recorded with great taste. In an interview with eclipsed, the 68-year-old, who survived a leukaemia illness some time ago, talks about the recordings, tells about the healing effect of the album production and explains what has changed in the band chemistry since the time of the common community life
eclipsed: "Sandglass" is on the one hand your comeback album after ten years of studio break, on the other hand it draws the attention to your 50th anniversary of the band
Hellmut Hattler: Although in retrospect it sounds as if Kraan were a band that was planning with the general staff. Unfortunately this is not so. (laughs) I would rather say: It's a coincidence and is - as always with Kraan - connected with the pure pleasure principle. First I prepared four titles with Martin Kasper, who accompanies us live on the keyboard every now and then. I sent these songs around - and that's when the lockdown came. Jan Fride played the drums and Peter Wolbrandt the guitar. So four or five pieces were finished, but that wasn't enough for an album. But then Jan said: "Peter has a lot of songs! I even have the multitrack recordings on my computer." There were about 15 tracks, and the ones that made the album I thought were really awesome. I then went to Jürgen Schlachter [Hattler's partner at his label 36music; note] in the studio, played the basses on it, and Jürgen edited everything a bit. Suddenly we had 13 titles, and everyone involved is still superhappy with them. This has become an incredibly relaxed record, which fits perfectly into this time - and that without us sitting together for even one second during the recordings.
eclipsed: I was wondering if maybe the two "The Trio Years" live albums were the reason why you said: "Let's try again!"
Hattler: Nope, at least not consciously, but they also inspired us a lot, and that was definitely a good basis to continue. For me the work on these two albums was like a therapy, because I accompanied the state of the mixes out of the isolation of the clinic.
eclipsed: Your song "Solitude" fits perfectly to the current situation. If I understood the lyrics correctly, it is about a corona patient in hospital
Hattler: Not only - but I had to go through a lot of isolation and loneliness. And then in spring there was the lockdown, which meant loneliness again. It was all a bit spooky and of course it had effects on the lyrics. I live in the country, and when I saw the girls sadly walking their dogs through the window, I had the feeling that they were hoping to meet a cool guy they could talk about dogs with - but that was just an image for the longing for exchange.