Sultans Court: “We wanted something of that place to be on the record”
Interview with Sultans Court, recordJet Passenger of the Month in August 2020
Sultans Court are Julius, Konstantin, Markus and Leander. The Berlin band is our Passenger of the Month for August. We sat down with three of them to talk about sharing rides, the influence of nature on their music and the new EP “Up Close”. Have fun with Sultans Court.
Hey Sultans Court! Tell us a lie: where does your band name come from?
Julius: We found an enchanted lamp at the flea market and a genie appeared to us. We thought, “Great! We still need a band name”. He said: “Okay. Sultans Court it is”.
What three things do you have to have in the rehearsal room?
Julius: Natural light. (Everyone laughs).
Konstantin: The genie has already failed us there.
Julius: We are in a beautiful 40 square meter vaulted cellar. This helps to simulate getting out of the city in Charlottenburg and gives us somewhere to hide away.
Konstantin: We have a Späti corner shop and a baker right around the corner and so all our needs are covered. Space, Späti and a baker. Perfect. Low maintenance.
You retreated to the countryside to write the current EP – did the peace and quiet help you with the writing process?
Konstantin: What was very special about it was an even stronger focus. After we released our first EP, our world was filled with constant concerts or interviews. We were doing things all the time. It was much easier to focus on our community and the task at hand.
Julius: And there was a great balcony with a beautiful view over the Weserberg countryside. We noticed that the sounds of nature that we could hear in the studio were all very calming. We recorded them for one of the songs because we wanted something of that place to be on the record.
Konstantin: Also the forest near Markus’ family was very relaxing. Just a little bit separated from the music world we are surrounded by in Berlin. On top of that, being in a family situation created a more familiar atmosphere which has made us free again.
Markus: The cool thing is you are at that moment there in Trendelburg, and can’t get away. No appointments, no driving to see the girlfriend – you can just concentrate on the whole process. It was an exciting time for me and Leander in particular as we are new. To see how the two work, to see where we can fit in – that worked out well and was fun.
Would the EP have had a different sound, if you had written it in Berlin?
Konstantin: I think that’s hard to say, because inspiration always comes from your surroundings. Of course we wrote a lot of things here in Berlin – including songs on the new EP – but this happens easily. All antennae are on and you take in everything around you and see what comes out. How exactly that would have happened in Berlin, is not possible to predict for me.
Some of Sultans Court got to know each other while sharing a ride. The music video for “Running” is also about sharing a ride. Is there a connection?
Julius: Rides are just what make us tick. (Everyone laughs). In fact, there’s a little story as to why we connected so strongly to the idea that the film team had. This is due to the fact that I had a pretty bad experience with a – let’s call it a ride – in Romania. That is why I found the story very interesting. Both cases are about not being able to get out of a certain situation. And maybe you don’t even know whether the situation is dangerous or not.
As for my story: a friend and I met two people while partying who wanted to take us into the mountains the next day. However when we arrived, we saw completely different people, which was very strange. We then drove off and they were apparently on the drugs and we drove at 80 through the capital city of Romania. At some point we thought to ourselves, ‘How do we get out of here?’. We got out at a petrol station and had a very unpleasant discussion with them.
Hopefully, shooting the video was a better experience! How did you address the topic in the video?
Julius: The shoot went a lot better! Mainly because there were no real drugs. It is an anti-drug video, we want to be clear on this. It is about a situation where you don’t know what’s going on, do not feel comfortable and cannot get away from it.
You are stranded on a desert island – which band member would get on your nerves first?
(All grin). Julius: We already know who it is. It’s okay, people.
Markus (shakes his head and holds a hand to his face): Well. Go on, Julius.
Julius: I’ll answer for both of you. It’s me. (Everyone laughs) I know that nobody here will say it, but I would definitely be the first band member to really get on everyone’s nerves! Probably because the sun cream has run out, or something like that.
And which band member would be the survivalist?
Markus: Konstantin would feed us. That would work. I could make a fire. I think I can manage that.
Konstantin: Markus would be in charge of everything.
Julius: Markus would turn it into a bonding event for all of us. (Laughter) So we wouldn’t feel how stressful it would all be.
Are there certain moments that have brought you together?
Markus: The car rides, the concerts
Julius: This four-day tour, where we got on each other’s nerves? But afterwards I thought, ‘If we can manage that, we can manage 30 days on tour’.
Markus: After more than 20 hours driving, you get to the point when you’ve gone through all the topics you can.
Konstantin: As a band, you spend so much time together, be it in the rehearsal room, in the studio, traveling to concerts, that you automatically get closer to each other. We have all already gained experiences from other groups and have realized that it is important to get on well with each other from the very start. Then we also have the choice of who we want to bring into the band. I had a good feeling immediately with both Leander as well as Markus. And the more time you spend together, the more you grow together, that is quite natural.
Are there topics that you would never write music about?
Julius: Yeah, definitely. When you write, you write about yourself, of course, you cannot escape yourself. You process things, whether consciously or unconsciously. When writing you think, ‘Is that too much?’ And somewhere you have to reach your limit and say, ‘This is now too close to me’.
Konstantin: It is always a spontaneous decision. Of course, the material almost always from Julius, because he has to perform the music. We then work together on the lyrics. But it is always a case-by-case thing.
Julius: If it gets too sad. You don’t always want to have to experience the sadness every time you perform the song. If it’s no longer constructive, then that is the limit.
How and why did you come by recordJet?
Konstantin: We were extremely pleased to have received a contract from Filter Music Group because we knew that recordJet would handle distribution for them. We listen to many artists that sell through recordJet, so we were very pleased about working with recordJet.
Thank you Sultans Court!