Austria has undisputedly nurtured a first-rate environment for composers and musicians since the days of the Habsburg dynasty. The works of luminaries like Haydn, Liszt, Mozart, and Mahler have immortalized the country’s musical heritage. And today, it remains unchanged: Austria still gives birth to a plethora of artists who perpetuate its savoir-faire but with a more electro-pop musical approach. One of those is Nihils. Created by childhood friends Ramon Riezouw (singer and pianist) and Thomas Lackner (drummer) in 2005, the group welcomed guitarist Florian Nothegger a year later, when they finally kicked off to fill a gap in contemporary music. After gigging in Europe and in the US, the trio unveiled its new project last April, Perspectives. The album was co-produced by Paul Kirski and Niko Stossl in Berlin, Nihils’ new home. But that is just the very beginning of their story. In their new song, “Breathing”, they sing that they will ‘keep on, breathing in, breathing out,’ taking their time to make serious moves in the music scene.
How did you meet and why did you decide to make music?
We’ve practically known each other since Kindergarten. Growing up in the same village we did a lot of activities together and a lot of sports. At fifteen we decided to focus more on music which was the start for NIHILS.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is a mix of electronic and pop with elements of 21st century soul, delicate introspection paired with a warm dance-insisting dynamic.
Why don’t you sing in German?
As singer Ramon is half Australian, his mother tongue is English and we never considered singing in German.
What is the message behind your last album ‘Perspectives’?
Looking back at our musical evolution and the recording process of the last years, we found ourselves shifting perspectives throughout the process and in doing so felt as though we understood ourselves and our music much better. In terms of message we would encourage people not to get too fixed on a certain view-point as our perspectives are always subjective and only show a small part of the whole.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on tour?
First day of our two week night liner tour and the bus breaks down on the highway having to be towed away and replaced. Apart from that we’ve been quite lucky so far.
You only recently moved to Berlin. What made you leave your hometown?
We wanted to be in an environment that inspired us creatively and where we could focus on our music. I mean we were lucky, we basically traded one paradise for another; An idyllic small alpine village for the vibrant, energetic creative hub of Europe.
In a music review you were compared to Depeche Mode – honor or pressure?
We were somewhat surprised by this but feel very honored to be compared to one of the biggest bands in the last 40 years. As our producer has worked in their sphere on previous projects his sound and experience definitely influenced our record.
What advice would you give young people who want to make it in music?
Keep on doing what you love and do it in your own way! Experiment as much as possible and try to find your own style. And also know your motivation.
In what situations (apart from being outside in the sun obviously) do you feel most comfortable wearing your neubau eyewear frames?
From meeting friends for coffee in Friedrichshain, sitting in the park at Boxhagener Platz to playing Out of the woods festival in Wiesen, our neubau shades have proved to be great companions. Happy wearing these all day, every day.
Photography by Matthias Heschl