Berlin-based darkwave duo Keluar offer an atmospheric melding of minimal synth moods, plaintive synth pop vocals and foreboding analogue electronica. Following the demise of popular London Dark Entries band Linea Aspera, Zoè Zanias teamed up with Sid Lamar to form this tightly focused electronic duo. Their music has a mean industrial rhythmic intensity, combined with a particularly woozy melodic approach—as if a computer programmer on Quaaludes has fallen down a well in 1983, and is slowly becoming aware of some slithering creature down there with them. This certainly isn't your average synthesiser party. Bringing in influence from industrial, deathrock, minimal wave and dark techno, Keluar have been quickening the pulses of audiences across Europe in the last year. Now they are bringing their unsettling sounds to Australia for the first time.
THUMP: You've toured a lot in the last twelve months. Do you guys generally play goth shows?
Zoè: Personally I don't consider us a goth band. It definitely has to be said that a lot of goths do like us and we do get booked at a lot of goth gigs. The last two years in a row I've had to turn down Wave Gotik Treffen, so yes, we do have that audience. Which is cool. The goths have lots of money.
How is the scene in Berlin these days?
Zoè: It depends what you are into. If you're into the goth scene there are plenty of nights like that in Berlin. Most of the nights that we are part of are centered on minimal wave, EBM and a bit of techno. It's mostly a social thing rather than a genre thing. There aren't that many divisions and you'll see lots of people attending lots of different club nights. We just go to the nights run by our friends a lot of the time.
Here we have a lot of band scene people who have started making electronic music, is that something you find over there as well?
Zoè: A lot of the bands are electronic, that's just how it is in our particular thread of the scene. And then there are bands like Ascetic that have come over from Australia. They were a "band-band", and now they are making more electronic music. The scene there seems to breed electronic music.
In Melbourne we still seem to have the three-year hangover from what happens in Berlin. Right now everyone's getting really excited by techno again and the goth thing is sort of starting to fade off from being a fashion movement. It picked up a lot of hipsters along the way who are now starting to talk about Psytrance, scarily enough.
Zoè: Oh god.
Do you feel like you guys are affected by those waves of fashion in underground music?
Zoè: I suppose we are, but not consciously. It must be happening because it always feels like things tend move in the way that our own taste does. A few years ago in London I decided, you know what? I don't give a shit about deathrock anymore, and I really love this electronic minimal wave and EBM. Just at that time, minimal wave happened to be having this big "up", through Minimal Wave Records and everything. So yeah, it does work like that—we tend to follow the trends subconsciously. When I discovered electronic music I knew that was my true place.
Is Keluar more of a studio or live project?
Zoè: Oh we are both, although in the studio we do a lot more than we can do live, because there are only two of us.
Will the new material you pursue now be more in the analogue darkwave vein?
Zoè: We're certainly sticking to analogue.
Sid: I think it's very close to the former stuff, maybe a bit more EBM-ish. Zoè had the urge to be doing some more danceable stuff, so some of the new material has a straighter beat.
Do you guys feel more comfortable playing club shows?
Zoè: It really depends on the crowd and how good the venue is. I've had great times when it's just been a band night and the monitors have been excellent. There can be club gigs where even though everything is really good quality, the crowd is just so disinterested that you feel like you shouldn't even be bothering. I guess band nights are better because I know that the people are there to see music, and I feel like our shows are something that are worth watching—not something you can dance blindly to on drugs. It is good to be challenged in keeping a crowd's attention though.
Electronic music is so huge in Berlin. Does it influence your music being involved in that sort of social scene?
Zoè: Certainly it does. It's really inspiring going out and dancing for a long time. You listen to all these sounds, and the DJs at Berghain and other clubs in Berlin put in a real effort to play interesting sounds—unless you're at a minimal techno party, in which case it's just "unts unts unts unts" [laughs]. When people put that effort in you can get really inspired—even by a single really nice snare. It can make you think about how you'd use that sound in a song.
Keluar's new EP Vitreum is coming soon through Desire Records.
The Tote in Melbourne on Feb 22
The Metro in Adelaide on March 14
Club 77 in Sydney on March 22
Miles Brown is our resident nice guy synthist. Follow him on Twitter: @M1le5Br0wn