Lassie are a punk band from Germany. We LOVE Lassie. They answered our questions “in a simulated interview environment – an online doc where everyone can write at the same time while seeing what the others write. So might be a bit chaotic but that is maybe close to the real thing!”—perhaps mirroring their chaotic sound. Today Gimmie is premiering their new release the LASSIE/EX WHITE – SPLITTAPE. It’s officially available on May 1st on cassette (it’s a great time to get it because bandcamp are once again waiving their fees so artists receive all your money).
Lassie are from Leipzig, Germany, and one of you are currently in Berlin; what can you tell us about where you live?
MARI: Three of us Kathi, Shreddy and me live in the east of Leipzig (we actually even live in the same house ) which used to be cheap and still is referred to either as “most dangerous street in Germany” by many (quote from a shitty German TV documentary about the neighbourhood ) or “the new Berlin“ (quote every hip dad).
KATHI: Leipzig is like New York in the ‘80s (quote from some experimental musicians…)
TEUN: …and artists
KATHI: …it’s true except there are less POC and more Nazis.
MARI: You can imagine this neighbourhood as a nice mixture of a never ending variety of Arabian restaurants, meth addicts yelling at you on the street and hip people showing off their vintage Fila trousers. Also the area we live in is officially a “Waffenverbotszone“ which means a zone where weapons are forbidden, haha yeah even like pocket knives etc. and there are these ridiculous signs all around (attached) with crossed baseball bats and knives. Officially they put them up to handle drug criminality but there is really just lot of racial profiling going on. The house we live in is actually really cheap because we have got about the sweetest landlords you can imagine, they are a Christian couple, motorcycle enthusiasts who are dedicated to supporting socially, healthy, community -focused, affordable living – OH MY GOD I SOUND LIKE THE MEMBER OF A CULT! PS: FRITZ lives on another planet.
TEUN: …planet truck stop…
KATHI: …where all you do is camping and riding trucks.
If we came to visit you; where would you take us?
SHREDDY: Flughafen (airport) Halle/Leipzig.
MARI: Shreddy is quite the dedicated aircraft spotter, she has an impressive collection. I‘d take you to RISOCLUB it is the local RISO print shop run by our neighbour and friend Sina, who really is the unofficial mayor of the east. At RISOCLUB a of stuff comes together, we print posters for shows or covers for tapes there, have parties and exhibitions and do a tape compilation called CLUBHITS. It is only 5 minute walking distance from where we live.
SHREDDY: My favourite place in Leipzig is probably the big cemetery in the south called “Südfriedhof“. It is close to “Völkerschlachtdenkmal” a big war monument.
MARI: Yes that‘s beautiful (the cemetery).
KATHI: Lindenauer Hafen. It‘s an abandoned building and you can go all the way up and the one side is open and you have a really nice view.
SHREDDY: Kessy and me would go party with you!
How did you head down the path to being a musician?
TEUN: My parents thought it was a good idea to give me drumming classes to train my arms for some reason. They came to regret it quite soon when the neighbours started to complain with increasing regularity. Then I played in some high school bands shredding ACDC covers LOL.
KATHI: I played the Piano ‘til I started to go out and be a stupid teenager. Later I figured that that if you play synth you can still hang with the cool kids.
MARI: Then reality hit you hard and you were stuck with us. I started learning guitar when I was 11, my major influence was Nirvana and then Mudhoney which I still love both. There was a squat in my hometown and my friends and me had a rehearsal space there. A concrete cube filled with high jump mattresses which could only be entered via a fire escape ladder, so we always had to use a pulley to get in and out our stuff for shows. The squat eventually got evicted (with police lowering down on ropes – crazy!) but since then I‘ve always been in bands because I really love it.
SHREDDY: I think I started to play acoustic guitar when I was around 13 years old. I liked to sing so pretty fast I wanted to write songs by myself. As a teenager I listened to loads of sad guitar music, probably a bit too much haha. But I also felt influenced by other music somehow. My best friend at that time and me became really huge fans of Sonic Youth, which are still one of the most important bands for me personally (I adored Kim Gordon, of course). Actually Lassie is the first band where I play electric guitar.
Can you tell us a little bit about Lassie’s musical journey?
KATHI: Why is nobody answering this question?
MARI: I saw you starting!
Why did you erase this secret information?
KATHI: Because then I‘d have to write so much and I’m hungry.
SHREDDY: Yes, when can we finally eat?????????????
MARI: Hahaha, so should we meet in the backyard? To say it with the words of the late Gene Simmons: “Our idea was to put together the band we never saw onstage: we wanted to be The Beatles on steroids.” “This ain’t a karaoke act, it’s five warriors standing together: love it or leave it it’s real.” “What we’ve created is perhaps the five most iconic faces on planet earth.” “People think Kiss LASSIE is the same thing as U2 and the Stones, that we get up onstage and play some songs, but they don’t have a fucking clue. The commitment involved to being in KissLASSIE is unmatched by any band in history.” Shreddy and me where playing in our friend Leo‘s (he is in PARKING LOT now) band KNICKERS, he also had another band called THE STACHES and since they were pretty busy at that time, we wanted to have our own band and started writing some stuff. Maybe the others can tell what happened next, it‘s unbelievable!
KATHI: …..Marian asked me if I want to play in their band and I said yes.
Why did you call your band Lassie?
MARI: We had a lot of names lined up and where unsure, one who came very close to making it was SEGWAY COP, which eventually became a song since we couldn‘t waste that hahahaha.
SHREDDY: I still have the list with all the name ideas!
MARI: Great let‘s have a look!
TEUN: Mari wanted to call it KKKevin but the rest of us were afraid of attracting an alt-right following.
KATHI: I was away on the final decision day, got a call and it was between Lassie and something else but I don‘t recall what. So I think I chose Lassie. BUT I really liked KKKevin.
MARI: Yes me too but I am glad we didn‘t take that name, it would be awful for a lot of reasons, took me some time to realize. Unable to decide, we were looking for band names we really liked for their simplicity and one that came up was FLIPPER. Okay I am getting an angry call from Shreddy here because SHE came up with the name!
SHREDDY: Dude that phone call is not angry.
MARI: Okay a lovely call then „DUDE“.
SHREDDY: Embarrassing (but it is true, I was listening to ‘Get Away’ that evening which is my favourite Flipper song).
SHREDDY: So other names we had on the list were: Snack, Jessies Girl, German Band, Coochies/Kooties (?), Chemnitz, Chemtrails, + Support, Angelo, Spock, KKKevin, KKKaufland,
The Rod Stewarts, The Wedding Planners, The Rockers, Blink 110, Star Foam, PMS , Los Karachos, De Windhupen, Der Knecht, Foampeace, Telefoam, Telesatan, Worf, Plenum, De Klingonenallianz, De Cheffs.
TEUN: Phil Collins!
SHREDDY: Ahayes- I loved “Phil Collins”!
MARI: Ahh so many good names! In case you, dear reader will use one of them, please let us know! I‘d love to see Jessie‘s Girl or der Knecht come to life!
SHREDDY: We charge good prices!
KATHI: I think I‘ll have a band called Telesatan.
How would you describe Lassie’s style?
SHREDDY: What does that mean?
MARI: It‘s French for stupid.
What influences your music and makes your feel inspired?
MARI: Right now during the crisis. I feel inspired often and then again fall into a state of apathy, then I will just watch TV, play games or listen to music. Some of the things that inspire me: other music, Point and Click Adventures, Love and Rockets comics. At the moment I love staying home and reading The Lefthand of Darkness, watching V the Visitors, playing Kings Quest III and listening to Alien Nosejob.
TEUN: I‘ve been reading Vonnegut he‘s very funny. Listening to Les Posters (nice new release on Refry) and the new Cowboys album. Also No Trend. And cooking! I‘m making a lot of traditional Italian stuff but also getting into fermentation lately. Does that make me sound like one of those wannabe food influencers? Anyway I‘ve been also discovering some painting I really like. Very into Rasmus Nilaussen, Jon Pilkington, Katherina Olschbaur.
SHREDDDY At the moment I am feeling inspired by reading Sartre and listening to J.S. Bach and watching movies on VHS directed by Jean Cocteau (French artist).
MARI: Is that how you see me?
SHREDDY: Yes, I see you as a French bohemian.
TEUN: It‘s because of the hat.
MARI: We brought home an 8-track recorder to work on new stuff, I know I don‘t find it inspiring to work with that because it gets frustrating fast, but it‘s still fun, maybe we have to figure it out better.
SHREDDY: I already tried and read a lot but some things just don´t seem to work. I was listening to ‘Nebraska’ by Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen yesterday and a friend told that it is recorded on a 4 track. I nearly cried.
MARI: That is exactly what the Boss wants you to do!
TEUN: Beautiful album tho, my fav by the Boss.
KATHI: I watch Buffy, play the Sims Medieval Times and got to like practicing power chords ‘cause we all try to record stuff in our flat(s) and the only instrument that we have enough of for everybody are guitars.
SHREDDY: PS: Actually I finally got inspired when we watched Troll 2 last Sunday.
MARI: haha NILBOOOG!!!!
Gimmie is premiering the Ex White/ Lassie – Splittape; what’s your song QT Enhancer about?
TEUN: It‘s about someone who is a dick at the office and thinks he owns his time and that of everyone around him and kisses ass to become an executive someday but then winds down on a company trip with all his colleagues.
MARI: It is a work of fiction though, because none of us have ever worked in an office. It is also about time being a financial asset. Which is horrible.
KATHI: I thought it’s about Fritz.
KATHI: I meant another Fritz.
MARI: It came to my attention that there are also ‘Company Man’ by Vintage Crop and ‘Company Time’ by Set Top Box, I see a pattern here!
What’s your favourite Lassie lyrics? Why? What do they mean?
MARI: My favourite is: Born and raised to be depressed and on the radio they play GO WEST / Be yourself but don‘t try too hard, no unemployment cheques, back to the start. It is about East Germany after the fall of the wall, referencing The Pet Shop Boys‘ song ‘Go West’ and the Monopoly game.
TEUN: I like the lyrics to Segway Cop: Getting dressed…pedal to the metal leaning forward I‘m the king of the street. It has the nicest cadence and lyrical build-up to it, culminating in: It‘s gonna be a glorious day. I like that the song is written from the perspective of the cop who‘s feeling great about himself.
KATHI: Still receiving phone calls on my deathbed.
SHREDDY: My favourite are the ones from ‘Go West’ too. I really like when Marian is singing the line: who is paying rent for a filthy cage? From the song called ‘Deposit Bottles’. And of course: I see Suzie / riding a surfboard / smoking weed on the beach/ posting iced latte / short pants for the fans / nice tan / a million likes on Instagram. My personal goal in life.
We love the visual art on Lassie’s releases; who’s behind that?
MARI: Shreddy did the cover of the first tape, the second we did together, the single illustration comes from Teun, the album is illustrated by Anna Haifisch, the new tape is illustrated by Dima from Russia haha that sounds funny – he is a guy I met on Instagram. I lay out most of the releases and designed some shirts.
TEUN: What about the French dude?
MARI: He did an illustration for a shirt right, look him up Aldorigolo on Insta. Johanna aka Shreddy does a lot of awesome illustrations and comics Check out her WE ARE DEVO sci fi comics! Teun is a crazy painter. The two studied together. And me I do printing, design and illustration too.
What are you working on now?
SHREDDY: Beach body.
KATHI: Nice tan.
MARI: A really annoying Red Land Destroy Deck.
KATHI: You are not are you????
When you’re not making music what would we find you doing?
TEUN: Making tacos, fishing.
SHREDDY: Drawing, rearranging my room, collecting cute animal pix.
MARI: Playing Magic THE GATHERING with Kathi and her boyfriend THE JUPP (SHOUTOUT), we are trying to get LASSIE endorsed by WIZARDS OF THE COAST but the others are not really helping…
SHREDDY: What is WOTC?
MARI: The company that owns Magic.
KATHI: YES MAGIC!
MARI: We got into Magic again on our last tour, I can recommend it to every touring person, time flies, YOU WILL ACTUALLY BE SAD THE DRIVE IS OVER ALREADY disclaimer: you will also destroy your social network and annoy the shit out of the people around you.
SHREDDY: I hate board games and card games, so obviously I always feel super bored during touring.
MARI: Thanks for the interview – this was nice! BYEEE.