Pop music isn't just music...
With the songs "A Glass Of Champagne" and "Girls Girls Girls" the English pop-band SAILOR entered the international charts. The members of SAILOR: Georg Kajanus (twelve-string guitar, composer, lead-singer). Grant Serpell (drums). Phil Pickett (piano, Nickelodeon). Henry Marsh (Nickelodeon, accordion).
Sigg talked to Georg Kajanus, the founder, singer, guitarist,
songwriter and boss of the British pop-band SAILOR.
How old is your audience?
Kajanus: In England the fans are very young. The youngest listeners are about ten years old. Throughout the rest of Europe most of our listeners are older... up to 30 years and more.
Do you particularly try to reach the children with your songs?
Kajanus: In this case I think I am like all the other songwriters. At first I try to reach that the song fits to my ideas. I don't want to sound selfish, but I try to write songs that make me happy. While I am writing songs I am not thinking: Ah, this song might be better for older listeners, and this number is much better for the very young fans. I always see all members of our audience together.
At what age did you first listen to pop-music?
Kajanus: As far as I remember I must have been about 13 years old. I listened to Radio Luxemburg. Musicians like Lonnie Donegan were played very often. At that time we moved to France, and there I started to listen to the chansons of Jaques Brel and Edith Piaf. Later my family moved to Canada, where I discovered a strong liking for folk-music. During this time I also started to play the twelve-string guitar which I am still using nowadays. I have been influenced by different styles of music, you see.
When did you first perform in front of an audience?
Kajanus: I think that happened in Canada. I played in coffee-houses when I was 16.
And when did you start to play an instrument?
Kajanus: That was in France. There I started to learn classic guitar. I never played in any kind of school band. But I don't consider myself as a musician - I prefer the songwriting and I want to be respected as a songwriter.
At what age should people start to learn to play an instrument?
Kajanus: That depends on the musical direction you want to go to. If you want to play classical music you should probably start very early. Virtuosity is very important, and it is better to start at an early age. Popmusic is something completely different. Popmusic is not only music, it also includes shows, jokes, ideas - a whole style of living. The mere musical knowledge is not that important. You must be able to sell yourself and your music to the audience.
How do you create your songs?
Kajanus: At first the title comes to my mind. Then I try to create a song that fits to the name. And then - in case I like the idea - I continue working on the song. It never happens that I am just playing the guitar and suddenly get any idea for a great song - like it happens to other musicians. When I wrote our song "A Glass Of Champagne" I wanted to write a hit and fortunately it became one.
How often do you rehearse?
Kajanus: Almost never. Of course we have to learn the new songs that we are writing. But later the stage replaces the rehearsals. Live performances give us more practice, self-confidence and routine than continuous rehearsals.
Why is your band named "SAILOR" which means "Seemann" in German?
Kajanus: When we formed the band three years ago I was working on a musical which plays in the red light quarters of harbour towns. It was clear to chose the name "SAILOR" because of this.
Have you ever been a real sailor?
Kajanus: No. But my life has been a lot like the life of a sailor. I like travelling and I know how it feels to be far away from home.
Why did you talk so silently during this interview?
Kajanus: Maybe because I am quite a shy person. Not on stage, but in private life!
Article by courtesy of Janette Herlinger (Wuppertal, Germany)