In Conversation with At Pavillon

Written by Maya-Rose Torrão

Austrian indie-rockers At Pavillon are already the name on everyone’s lips in the Austrian music scene. Next up? The world! Made up of Paul Majdzadeh-Ameli on drums and backing vocals, Tobias Kobl on bass guitar and backing vocals, Bernhard Melchart on lead guitar and backing vocals and Mwita Mataro coming in with rhythm guitar and the lead vocals, these four friends have an infectious energy that makes their live shows unforgettable and their music, unique.

The band formed in 2014 and have been working hard ever since; their single ‘Stop This War’ was received with critical acclaim and earned the band a huge amount of praise for its ambitious music video as well as securing them a slot at Austria’s biggest music festival, Frequency. At Pavillon are not showing any signs of slowing down or stopping; in fact, this is just the beginning for this quirky indie-rock outfit. The group have just released a brand new single yesterday, titled ‘Lions’, which the band explains as a track that aims, “to empower the listener to be proud of him-/herself and offer a pavillon where race, religion, gender, class and sexual orientation are irrelevant.” At Pavillon will also be playing this month at Reeperbahn Festival‘s Austrian Heartbeats on the 19th September and already have many exciting things lined up for 2019.

Listen to At Pavillon‘s brand new track ‘Lions’, below, along with four spectacular remixes of the track, by Is Tropical, Mynth, Cio and Eyht.

We caught up with these rebellious sweethearts and chatted to Mwita Mataro of At Pavillon about flooded studios, spreading love and wearing your dancing shoes.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

We are four musicians of different social, cultural, ethnic and migrational backgrounds and therefore faced different challenges. With music, we want to overcome those challenges.
Hence, for us, diaspora-artists like Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury or M.I.A. are real lions.
Such artists believe in themselves and therefore bring a new vision into the world, which as well is our aim.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Definitely the idea. One of us has this special melody in his head, was dreaming about a crazy beat, or just has to release his anger on the instrument – we want to transform all these energies
into a great sound.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Yes, several remixes (Mynth, Is Tropical, CIO, Eyht).

What’s on your current playlist?

Arctic Monkeys, Her, Lo Moon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Yung Hurn.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

At Pavillon is a live band. You have to see us in order to understand us. Hence, at every show we try to build up a strong connection to our audience, integrate them in our show and let them forget all their worries. Our fans are always wearing their best dancing shoes!

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Right now Berni is trying to find new ambient sounds. Mostly delay and harmonizer stuff to get a warm and full sound. With this he wants to create a synthesizer feeling. Paul is conservative on the drums, he prefers a rather raw sound, and is focussing on what the drumset itself is offering, rather than using triggers, for instance. Tobi, again, is experimenting a lot with different amps, effects and also bass guitars. The different types of wood and pickups give you like a million options.
Tobi loves the hard compressed bass of french electro music. Furthermore he tries to get the sound of a sub bass synth sound with his bass guitar, also live.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

First rule: no studio day is the same!
The songs always basically turn out 180 degrees different than how we arranged them in the rehearsal room. Our producer Roland Maurer encourages us to try different things in terms of harmony, tempi and arrangements. When we start recording a song, it is like entering an island we’ve never been before and we’ve all got the map to find the treasure. So the aim is to find the treasure as a team in an efficient way. And there are basically many roads leading there, that’s why it can be very adventurous and exciting, but also exhausting and frustrating. So it happened, for instance, in the middle of the night, that the neighbour of our studio had a burst water pipe, which led to a flood of water down the walls into our studio. all the equipment was under water, as well as our computers! We acted pretty fast, moved temporarily to a new studio and could finish the recordings. So: In the end we all could find the treasure, but it turned out different than we expected the way there to be, but still it enriched us.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

There is not a really specific moment, it’s rather that the band for us is like a religion. It is about believing in something bigger than us.
Like in a religion there are hard moments as a band where we struggle about our belief. And there are days, especially when it comes to live shows, when we receive so much love from our fans.
Maybe those are the moments where we think “this is exactly what we want to do.”

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Our strength as a band and our optimism in spreading love, unity and equality at concerts

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Way too many! Leyya, lo moon, Flut – just to mention a few!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music itself represents the struggles we are facing in our lives to keep balance between good and bad, love and hate, giving and taking. Those struggles keep our creative juices flowing more than enough.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Berni‘s gear is less about amps and vintage guitars but more of different effect pedals to change to classic sound. Still if he wants the classic sound he can get it quite easy with turning off just a few pedals. For live gigs, Paul is using the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad, in order to add some sound effects to give the show a round shape. As Tobi is a perfectionist, he will always be searching for his perfect bass sound, which means lots of changes in his gear. Right now he is using his first bass guitar he could afford when he was still a kid, an Aria Precision. As an amp he has a Markbass and of course a bunch of effects.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Tobi and Paul are involved in a kind of singer/songwriter/indiepop project called Atzur. We are looking forward for their release already!

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Of course! Since we got professional partners we are even more motivated to show the world what we are capable of.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

In September we are travelling to Hamburg to play at the legendary Reeperbahn Festival – definitely a highlight of the year. in the coming winter we will release another great single, followed by the release of our very first album!

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