Foto-© Marius Roos
Am 31. Januar hat Jan Kerscher alias Like Lovers mit dem letzten Song sein neues Album Syntax in seinem fränkischen Studio fertiggestellt – und statt nun wie üblichen die Produktionsschleife anzuwerfen, auf lange Vinyl-Lieferzeiten und sonstige Vorlaufzeiten zu warten, direkt einen Monat später für 10 Tage digital veröffentlicht – ein spannender Ansatz, entgegen der üblichen Automatismen in der Musikindustrie.
Heute nun erscheint das Album nun auch regulär und zeigt die nächste Stufe des Schaffens von Kerscher, der sich für Syntax entgegen seiner vorherigen Herangehensweise für externe Kollaborationen geöffnet hat. So wurde das neue Like Lovers-Album zu einem Sammelsurium verschiedenster Gäste und Co-Songwriter*innen: neben den Stimmen von Elena Steri und Hélène Ruzic (Mitglied der französchen Band „-ii-„) sind auch der australische Schlagzeuger Brody Simpson und der von FERN und The Ocean Collective bekannte Paul Seidel darauf zu hören. Aus dem engsten Like Lovers-Umfeld kommen u.a. Beiträge von Hannes Hümmer alias tenderpeaks und Jannis Scheurich. Wie sich das dann alles zu einem Album zusammenfügte, erklärt uns heute aber wieder Kerscher selbst, in Form unseres Track by Tracks zum heutigen Release von Syntax.
1. EGO / AHIMSA
In the past I tended to take my own music overly serious. I was oftentimes unsatisfied with production, songwriting, my performance and my whole workflow suffered from that.
„Ego/Ahimsa“, while a pretty serious song about battling your ego in order to become a nicer person – completely resolved that issue and reminded me that I am really allowed to do what-ever-the-frack-I-want with my music however-the-frick-I-like. So relieving…
Fitting Fun fact: This song is the first in which I knowingly used wrong grammar in the lyrics and felt hilariously funny allowing myself to do so. My lyrics develop in very different ways. Sometimes (many times actually) I start by singing some spontaneous gibberish on top of an early instrumental to feel out a potential structure. Usually melodies come rather quickly and a bunch of words stick in my mind and inspire the further lyrics. It feels a little bit like pouring a mixed box of legos on the floor and then picking out what I need. Also, I was a mad sucker for legos as a child so this workflow comes rather naturally to me.
2. SHAPING MY SHADOWS
This song came to be when i was at a very low point in june 2021, when i originally wanted to be done with the production of SYNTAX. Well,.. i wasn’t done with the album. Rather i was done with my self and massively struggeling with heavy panic attacks and generally not feeling very stable. Although i was feeling pretty safe in that regart, the pandemic finally got to my psyche…
Shaping my Shadows was inspired by a drum groove that my good friend Brody Simpson (@brodysimpsondrums) posted. The groove catched me very quickly and the writing was done in a day or two and gave me a chance to deal with those feelings in a musical way. So yeah, „Shaping My Shadows“ – the title says it all – is a song about getting in touch with your inner self. I think that might be a general theme in my music…. or even in music in general?
And here we go again. Identified is a song about how your whole reality as a person is just the projection of what you identify with. Who am i? Who do i want to be? What do i like? What do i don’t like? How am i feeling towards this or that situation? The answers to those questions reflect who you THINK you are. They are an expression of your identification. I might identify as queer, straight, stupid, highly intelligent, talented or untalented. In every case – the things we choose to identify ourselves with create our personal realities.
Afterlife is a very personal song and deals with the relationship i have with my mother. At least that’s what i think. Sometimes i really don’t know what my songs are about and find out much later haha. This song is the first song that has some french lyrics in it (my mother is french). It just asks simple questions like „what is it that hurts you so much?“ or „how can i help you?“ and i remember that singing those lines in my first demos made me actually cry while recording. This happens so rarely that i immediately knew that i was onto something real here.
5. DELTA / SAMADHI
Delta / Samadhi is actually the only song on the album that has just me playing and I really love the fact that it is like so and „SYNTAX“ actually became this great, collaborative effort that I imagined it to be from the start.
I remember jangling around on the piano „for relaxation“ one evening during a month-long album production with a local band. Somehow, this weird rhythm came to me and at first it really took me some time to fully understand it myself. Some days later – when I had a window to figure the song out a bit better – its final form came into existence extremely quickly. I think I didn’t invest more than 5 hours total in this song.
The lyrics came surprisingly easy, too. The words intuitively felt „right“ so I kept going although I didn’t really understand what they meant to me until much later. Then I realized that „Delta / Samadhi“ is a very important lyric for the album. It has lots of layers, but one that resonates deeply with me is a feeling that meaning and language can sometimes become disconnected from each other.
For example, when we as humans sometimes don’t mean what we say and beyond that, that we sometimes don’t understand how we don’t really know what we mean but instead just think that we know that we mean what we mean but accidentally communicate completely different things. I know that’s a complicated sentence. But funnily enough – it illustrates my point perfectly.
6. BREACH / SAMSARA
In the beginning there was a title. And the title was „Codeswitch“. With the core theme of the album beeing language, communication and „the how“ of those, my friend Hannes Hümmer (alias „tenderpeaks“) and I set out to make a song about codeswitching. For those who’ve never heard the term – „Codeswitching“ describes (among other things) the changing of language parameters (i.e. words, idioms, tone, slang etc.) when communicating with different peers. Simply put: Whenever we use different different language with different people – we „switch code“.
The idea was to find a musical motive, keep that 100% the same and just have the sounds „codeswitch“ through different vibes. In a way we kept to that original idea sonically, but the lyrics just didn’t want to move into that direction with us. So in the end the title changed and the song is now about the neverending cycle of your personality dying (just a little) and rebirthing via the realization of your own wants and desires. (Fittingly, the song kind of died and rebirthed as well)
Incidentally, Hannes is one of my most long term collaborators on this album. He participated in the very first electronic stage setup of „Like Lovers“ in the year 2014 and is one of the most creative musicians I know. You should certainly be on the lookout for future „tenderpeaks“ releases and in the meantime please do check out his other project „Skull Sized Kingdoms“.
I wrote this song together with my friend Paul Seidel when i was actually collecting songs for my first album „Everything All The Time Forever“. For a while i wanted to name the album „Let Go“ but in the end it really was too cheesy for me haha. I’m very glad i switched back to the longer title. But still, this song is about lettting go. Letting go of heaviness in particular. Sometimes, heavy feelings drag us down. They literally make us heavy. We don’t want to move anymore. But that’s okay. Because that’s exactly what we need in those times. Just letting the weight weigh on you, don’t work against it. Become one with it, let it happen.
One of the rare, real „love songs“ in the Like Lovers cosmos. Fittingly outfitted with Elena Steri’s charming voice. It’s about not really knowing what a relationship is about and also about finding out what it is about and after that – dancing with joy about finding out what you found out.
Elena and I met while producing her EP „Chaotic Energy“ which is an absolute musical gem you totally should check out!
9. THE ULTIMATE OPINION
This song was once called „Raised To Incompletion“, already hinting at what „The Ultimate Opinion“ actually stands for in the context of this song. Which is what our primary caregivers decide to tell us in that time of our lives when we’re not yet ready to interpret what’s happening around us independently.
If we’re not lucky enough to have access to good mental health care we’re all prone to become „robots on a mission“, mindlessly repeating what we have learned as baby humans. I mean heck, we’re already lucky if we have access to the mere idea of this even happening. Because this is the only possible starting point of actually doing something about it. Beeing aware that it happens – like so many things these days, but let’s not even begin, okay?
This song of course stems from realising and learning this about myself. But I do really hope it can also serve as a reminder of how we are all a part of each other. What we tell people, how we deal with people, how we become who we are and what role we play in how others in turn become who they are are really powerful but often overlooked interconnections between us as individuals.
Be careful, people. Every word counts. Everything affects everything. Be good, be truthful, don’t (knowingly) cause unnecessary pain – not for you, and also not for others. Thank you very much <3
10. SYNTAX / ANANDA
The title track of SYNTAX. This song was the first to feature a „slashed“ ( / ) title. In this case, the whole idea behind those is that we sometimes have to overcome one thing to attain another. The title „Syntax / Ananda“ for example suggests that we firstly need to get our talking straight in order to be able to lead a life in bliss (Ananda).
Big words of course here – don’t take it for absolute – but I think you get the gist. You’ll have to give something to get something. It’s always an exchange. Right?
Personally, I am extremely sensible to words and therefore have a rather extreme need for what I would describe as „linguistic empathy“ (can we make that a thing?). On a personal level, i would be tempted to call the whole album „a cry for more linguistic empathy“ because oh, am I thinking a lot about this haha. And maybe „SYNTAX“ can take you there for a bit, too!