Under the name HACKLERBERRY ‘PI’ & THE LAZY COMPROMISES two albums have already been released. The song “Old Brown Shoe” from the debut album “ein Lieferwagen voll Mausefallen” from 2012 the inclined FM4 listeners will still have in their ears. The mixture of 50ies rock n’ roll and punky indie attitude, the band remains largely true to the new album “Treibholz” (March 31, 2023 / Preiser Records). When is a song a song? And what can you learn from hip hop? Dominik Beyer speaks with HACKLERBERRY ‘PI‘the head of the gang DIE LAZY COMPROMISES about influences and processes that shape the new album.
What is still remarkable about the adventures of Huck Finn today?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Are you alluding to the novel?
Yes, I assume that the band name was chosen based on the character in the novel.
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘ is my stage name. The band’s name The bad compromises. So far it has been separate. But we’ve grown together now. Now we just call each other together The bad compromises.
But yeah, I’m sort of the frontman. I travel and have my adventures. And I write them down in the form of songs. In the last four years in particular I’ve been doing a lot. Hence the title “Driftwood”. The title also comes from the fact that the songs stayed put for a very long time. In this flow of music. Reinforced by Covid. At some point we fished them out of the river again and changed something again. In this sense, the adventures have already been processed. The last album was called „firewood”. So that’s a good name for a sequel.
When do you notice that a topic is processed into a song?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Sometimes I have an idea in my head for years. Just a few lines. That’s a few years back and is being pushed aside by other song ideas. After a while, another line will fit. At some point you have enough together. These are experiences that I have to make so that they can be packed into the song. Looking back, I realize that at the time the idea came up, I simply hadn’t experienced and thought about it enough to fill an entire song with content. There is a click, but I can’t describe it. It’s a matter of feeling. Something drives you to finish writing the song.
„Although I’m a political person, it’s very difficult for me to process that in songs.”
It’s your third album. Are some themes better suited to songs than others? Are there any categories for you?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: I wrote little during the pandemic because I experienced little. That was due to Covid. Because my texts always need experiences or relationships and friendships. After none of this happened during the lockdown, little content remained. Pretty soon I couldn’t listen to a run-of-the-mill lockdown song like many people wrote. Because he’s just whining. That might have been relevant for the moment. But not after that. Although I’m a political person, I find it very difficult to process that in songs. That’s yesterday again too soon. For me, timelessness is a criterion that should be met.
What do you want your songs to aim for? Is there an expectation?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: That is hard to say. First of all, it has to meet my own requirements. This is our third album. We haven’t been doing this since yesterday. It’s nice when a few small pieces of wisdom shine through. Whereby wisdom sounds very pompous. Experience is the more appropriate word. If someone shares this experience, or can even identify with it as a result, then the song has its right to exist.
We are experiencing a turning point. Ten years lie between the first and current album. Has your view of things changed in the meantime? If so, to what extent?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: On the one hand, you grow up. We are now in our thirties. I used to be away more often and had more energy. In the meantime I have become a tourist guide/tour guide in Austria and Norway. I read other literature and am influenced by other films. And of course the political situation has changed. And the language is certainly more chosen. You don’t have to go along with it, but you’re also a product of your time.
But when you listen to old records, you can hear a certain naivety. That’s fun too. That’s something you’ve lost. You can no longer produce them artificially. That would be fake.
How does the sensitization of the language affect your lyrics?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: The word ‘baby’, for example, as a universal metaphor for someone you love, seems very old-fashioned to many. I use it anyway because I haven’t found anything more suitable yet. But of course one reflects one or the other more today than back then.
Your lyrics are not provocative. Huckleberry Finn also eludes his bourgeois classification by preferring to travel and thus avoid the conflict in the village instead of going into battle. So he’s not an activist in that sense.
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Yes, that’s right. I can identify with that. The “Treibholz” album is also about shedding social constraints in order to gain more freedom. “Mother Nature’s Children” is the last song on the album, and it’s also about finding your adventures away from the mainstream.
Which individually interpretable “truth” you were brought up with did you have to clean up with? Or to put it another way, are there paradigms that many have been taught, but perhaps fit more in today’s world?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: That security should be more important than freedom, for example. I rebelled against that as a teenager. I don’t like to be taken over by rules and constraints. Such a regulated 40-hour job and paying into the pension fund is not for me. Basically, the escape from the bourgeois.
How is that reflected in your lyrics?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: In “Zieh zu mir” the Empress Sisi stands metaphorically for this corset of rules and constraints – or the etiquette of the court. I offer her to move in with me. So there is a way out for her – out of this farce. “Mother Nature’s Children” is about a natural way of life that doesn’t need a lot of material things. Certainly in “Schwarze Mamba” too.
What does the black mamba stand for?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: You can interpret what you want into it. An adventure, a woman or a continent. Admittedly, there is also a little exoticism involved. I was living in Uganda for a few months at the time, and that’s when the idea came to me.
“Night bus to Trieste” stands out a bit. That sounds very trap-y. Played by a drum kit. Not from a drum machine as usual. Which modern contemporaries influence you?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Besides a lot of old stuff, I also listen to German and American rap and trap here and there. On “Nachtbus nach Triest” we imitated a trap rhythm on the drums. Our drummer July Skone just recorded it like that. He can do that.
But German rap is a different chapter. What do you like about it?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Yes, I hear that more out of interest in the technical skills than because of the content. That’s very innovative. So much happens in a year. Especially when it comes to flow. But there are also rappers who have something to say. For example Kendrick Lamar or Faton. That way you can hear people talking on the street. That may sound like a cliché, but you have to deal with it.
Does that also find a place in your lyrics?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: I prick up my ears. Some words are better left in the schoolyard and don’t need to be part of a thirtysomething’s vocabulary, in my opinion. But I like others and use them. Language is always changing. It often starts in the schoolyard.
Where do you learn to write lyrics? Is that what the best way to teach yourself is to just do it?
Hacklerberry ‚Pi‘: Of course I always listen to music. There are the great masters like Bob Dylan or Lou Reed, which you probably studied as a songwriter anyway. At some point you emancipate yourself from your role models. The more influences you allow, the better you can mix these inspirations into an independent form. Because out of nothing, nobody invents anything. You have to stay interested, and that’s how something new is created.
Thank you for the interview
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31.03 Release Show im Rhiz
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