Our LomoAmigos of the band Blackout Problems from Germany are currently working their heart out for their upcoming album KAOS, which will be released this summer. Their photographer Paul Ambrusch is constantly capturing all of their steps, on and off stage and lets us peek into the recording process of KAOS, while the band experimented with a Lomo'Instant camera.
Hi guys, welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself briefly to our Community
Hi Lomography Magazine. We are Mario, Michael, Moritz and Marcus. Together we are Blackout Problems. Moritz and his guitar joined in 2016, but he has been with us on tour for a while before and usually chilled with our T-Shirts, beer and cigarettes at the merchandise booth.
You recently took the Petzval 58 and a Lomo'Instant camera to the studio, where you recorded KAOS. It looks like a lot of work but also super cozy. How was the time in the studio for you?
Being in a studio always feels like being in some sort of a delirium. You are busy 24/7 with working on the songs. If you get a minute in between, you try to relax and make it a cozy place, as you say, or try to find something else than chips, gummybears or coke, to fill your stomach with. Despite all that, being in the studio is one of the best times of making a new album. You can watch the songs grow piece by piece, and you fiddle with them day and night. You are completely isolated from the rest of the world and the only thoughts you are left with, are about how to improve a certain part of a song. That's heart-balm.
As opposed to being on tour, where you are constantly among tons of people, you isolate yourself, as you said, from everyone during the recording process and work under a lot of pressure. Isn't that difficult at times?
We are all very happy and thankful for being able to produce music the way we want to. We don't have anyone telling us what to do or how to do it. We set our own deadlines, which makes it seem to be easier, but even those put a lot of pressure on us. I believe that it is only natural for a group of people, working together in isolation, to bicker at times. No matter whether these people are best friends or complete strangers. The only thing that matters is how you choose to deal with these situations and to stay positive. Problems of any kind should always be addressed and discussed. You'll get your personal "5 minutes", let everyone know what pisses you off and that's it, you can let go of it afterwards. That's something we had to learn.
In your photos everything looks quite harmonic and intimate. How did you feel about having your photographer Paul around to capture every step of it?
Paul is just like everyone else from our crew a close friend. There's not much we would feel uncomfortable with him being there. Sometimes we see photos or videos he took and didn't even realize he was shooting at the time. Paul is very sensitive and that's something we really appreciate in the band. Especially off the stage, when things are not purely "love, peace and harmony", it's good to have someone with us to capture those moments, because those are often the most interesting ones. We truly appreciate Paul and his work.
Your last album Holy was released in 2016. Since then, I am sure, a lot has happened to feed your creativity. What was the source of inspiration for this new album?
As opposed to HOLY, KAOS is kind of entering our microcosm. Lyric-wise, Holy was addressing issues in a more global way. It focused on what is going wrong in this world from the view of a protagonist. KAOS on the other hand is dealing with something even more fragile, namely the human psyche. A lot has happened to everyone of us in the past two years and some things went wrong in our private lives. Time and again it was simply difficult to stay on track and to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, that light is our album KAOS, it's release, the upcoming tours and everything that comes with it. That's what we worked our asses off in the past two years and will finally pay off.
This is for Paul: You were shooting with the Petzval 58 for the first time and shot some Lomogrpahy Film. How was working with these products? Anything that particularly stood out for you?
The days I spent with Blackout Problems in the studio, I shot some rolls LomoChrome Purple, Lady Grey 400 and Lomography Color Negative 400.
Since the light in the studio was rather difficult to deal with, I decided to push the Lady Grey to 3200, to see how the film can handle the low light situation. I really loved that the film didn't swallow all the black parts and delivered decent dynamics, despite the high contrasts. The Lomography Color Negative 400 Film was exposed with Box Speed and surprised me the most. I am already planning to pick up more for the upcoming shows and mix it up with some 800 film for night times.
The LomoChrome Purple taught me some lessons. As it's ISO said to be 100-400 I wasn't quite sure how to use it and I couldn't find any advice online. But because the studio light was rather low, I decided to set the camera to ISO 400. The results turned out rather coarse and some slightly underexposed. But the beauty of analogue photography is that every shot is yet another lesson for you. The colors of the film are in any way very unique and special, which is why I definitely want to shoot some more ISO 100 to really get to know this film.
Unfortunately I was only able to use the Petzval 58 Art Lens with my digital camera, because my analogue Canon EOS 3 crapped out. The lenses swirly bokeh is addictive and you tend to overuse it sometimes. (laughs)
Not only Paul has an affinity for analogue gear, as a Band too, you release your music on Vinyl. What do you like about analogue media?
In these digital times and the fast-moving nature of music and other media, it is kind of nice and feels nostalgic to capture your art on vinyl. A lot of people only listen to their favorite artists on Spotify and hardly ever buy a Compatct Disc. But at the same time, people often want to "possess" something of their favorite bands and rather pick a an actual record over CD. Some might say, Vinyl sounds better, too. :)
You guys experimented with the Lomo'Instant for the first time. How was trying it out without any prior experience in instant photography?
It was a lot of fun, being able to put your instruments down and get your hands on a camera for a change. Let's say... after everyone had a look at the manual, we were all able to use it. :) oh... and Paul was here, of course.
How do you feel, now that the album is recorded? What's next on your ToDo list and what are you looking forward to the most?
We are mostly simply excited for this whole upcoming year, which is packed with awesome shows. We are going to play small clubs, huge concert halls and festivals. This year takes us to so many places and stages, which we are very excited about. We are kicking it off with the band Royal Republic in France. Afterwards Jennifer Rostock take us on tour with them through Germany, Austria and Switzerland right before we hit summer and all the Festivals. Our album KAOS will be released June 15th and is gonna take us on tour through Germany this fall. Finally we will be playing a gig in our hometown Munich on December 1st, which will be our biggest, headlining show so far.
A few last words for our Community?
First of all we hope you enjoyed looking through our photos and we'd be happy to see some of you with your Lomo cameras at a show one day. :) See you soon... okay bye!