MEUTE interview: "you can't replicate the energy of a street show"

We got to chat with Thomas Burhorn from MEUTE, the techno marching band taking on the world one step at a time

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 19th Oct 2022

You’d be forgiven for having a confused look on your face at the mention of a band that mixes Techno and Marching Band music together. However, upon seeing the raucously good fun that Hamburg-based band MEUTE are having doing just that, your initial confusion will march on and leave you in a state of brass-fuelled boogie. 

Founded by Thomas Burhorn, the band consists of 11 drummers and horn players who fulfil the job of DJ with their instruments. Now on their third album, TAUMEL, we caught up with Thomas to find out about the story of MEUTE, and what to expect from the new album.

 

 

So where did you first have the idea of melding marching band and techno music together? And how did that idea turn into MEUTE?

 

“As a musician, you search for things that haven't happened before, you want to do something new. I was at a techno rave and thinking how everything was so cool there. The music and the setting were so hypnotic, there were so many emotions, even without a lot happening on stage, just a DJ with some knobs. But through the music, there's so much energy in the room.

“I was playing the trumpet at the same time and played in a marching band as well. I thought about the energy of a marching band and what would happen if I combined these energies. This hypnotising power of techno music with the other, more human power, of the marching band.

“We tried it out, I got some friends I knew in Hamburg, and we started to record some stuff in the studio and doing little street shows. It all changed when we filmed a street show and it went viral. We got requests to play and started playing festivals very fast, and it just kept on growing to the state we are now.”

 

 

You mentioned playing both on the street and also on the huge stages at festivals, which of these stages do you guys prefer to play?

 

“We prefer both, as each is a different process. Of course, it's cool when you have a big stage and there are 20,000 or 25,000 people. The sound is huge, the show is huge, and we have space on stage and all the crowds cheering. That is awesome.

“But on the other side, when you play on the street, many people are just surprised because they don't know what you're doing. They stop and stay for your show and you feel the direct energy of the crowd and their reaction. So we’re playing our instruments, and the person one or two metres behind really feels the air of our brass instruments. It’s so intense and you can't replicate the energy of a street show on a big stage, so it's different. But we love both the same.”

 

So when you've got your third album TAUMEL coming out soon, what can you tell people about the record?

 

“We recorded the album during the two-year break of the Coronavirus, a phase where all musicians had no gigs or fewer gigs, and so we used this time for studio work.

“At the time, we were full of emotions and questions, so we were tumbling around a little bit because we didn't know what was happening next. This idea of tumbling was interesting to us, as you can tumble because you're so happy, but you can also tumble when you are a little insecure, or very insecure. So we decided to call the album Taumel, as that is the German translation of the word.

“So this is what we wanted you to hear when you listen to the music, and this is also the experience you have at a techno rave when everything is so hypnotic and ecstatic that it's like a big tumbling thing in your brain. So yeah, that's kind of the idea of the work.”

 

It's fair to say your most listened-to tracks are the ones you rework. What is the vetting process for how you guys choose which tracks to rework?

 

“It's a very intuitive decision. A lot of the time, we are hanging around after the show, or on the bus, and listening to music, and sometimes we hear a track from someone, and we all think, wow this is cool, and this could fit really well into the marching band then we just try it out.

“In many cases, it happens that it's as cool as we think, and in some cases, it happens that you think, oh, maybe the imagination was better than the reality. But in most cases, when there's good original composition, and we do our work, automatically we add something different to the track, and once you get there, there's value in it already. It's a very organic process.”

 

 

I'm sure you enjoy doing the reworks, but the new record also features some original stuff, for you guys as musicians it's got to be good to make your own stuff and be putting that out there as well.

 

“We like both. Of course, it's nice to do our own compositions as they’re from our souls, we put ourselves inside these tracks. But we must confess, we learn a lot from the reworks. Particularly how to do nice compositions for a techno marching band.

“But I’ve always liked the idea of cover versions, especially the way different musicians play the same piece in another way or with other instruments. When you have something more or new to say, you add can add a spark to the original composition. But on the other hand, of course, new compositions can be really innovative and beautiful. So truth be told I love both processes.”

 

So, your UK tour kicks off very soon, is there anywhere touring within the UK that you particularly like to play? Or is there anywhere you're looking forward to playing?

 

“I can’t think of a particular location, but reminiscing on the last tour we did about a year ago, all I remember is that the energy was really high and hot and the people were really cheering and energetic. The locations were also really beautiful, particularly the old dance halls we played in.

“But, the craziest thing I saw in the UK was definitely Boomtown Fair. We played a few years ago and afterwards, we were loving the whole vibe, the set-up and all the actors, that was a really crazy experience.”

 

 

 


 

MEUTE are playing four dates in the UK in November, scroll to the bottom of this page to get tickets, or find more information by clicking or tapping - here

 


 

Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.

 

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Header image credit: MEUTE on Facebook

 

Tickets for MEUTE at O2 Academy Brixton, London

 

Ticket waiting list for Meute

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Tickets for MEUTE at Albert Hall, Manchester

 

Ticket waiting list for Meute

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Tickets for MEUTE at SWG3, Glasgow

 

Ticket waiting list for Meute

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

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