Some personal remarks from Carl Erling, the former label manager of Deine Lakaien and co-initiator of this DVD project, for all music lovers, interested in the background details.
A concert recording about the Colour-ize fanbase is not new: The recording of the unique concert “The Concert that Never Happened Before” in 2005 was similar. An official recording via the label (then Sony Music) was not planned here either. But a concert is a unique event. A missed opportunity cannot be made up for. So Deine Lakaien and Colour-ize spontaneously decided to organize a recording at short notice, in order to make it available to the fans and fanbase members with the permission of the label directly (“out of turn”). The situation was similar for the XXX tour in 2017 …
Why this recording?
The XXX. Retrospective Tour is not only a review of 30 years of Deine Lakaien, but also a retrospective of (almost) 30 years of Chrom-Records label history. I had accompanied Deine Lakaien as well as the solo projects “Helium Vola” and “Veljanov” from the beginning and then for 2 decades. The same is true for the fanbase Colour-ize, which I have joined as a consultant since my retirement from the active music business (2017) because we have long friendships and common musical interests. This XXX tour is also something exceptional for everyone who is active in the fan club and a nice look back at decades of active accompaniment by “our” favourite band.
The idea of a concert of the XXX. Tour was created quite spontaneously in January 2017: It was about 30 years of Deine Lakaien’s repertoire, all music filled with personal memories - and that in these unspeakably great locations like the Philharmonie Berlin, the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, the Gewandhaus Leipzig. They have already hosted the world’s most famous conductors, orchestras and performers and are already a piece of music history in their own right. In addition, there was one of the rare performances of the solo projects Helium Vola and Veljanov, which have never before been officially recorded on a sound carrier.
At the end of January we received a lot of enthusiastic feedback from the press and fans. It was clear that one would like to have such an event immortalized for oneself on a video in order to be able to watch it again and again later. And you would like to share the spectacle with the fans, especially from abroad, who couldn’t make it to one of the tour concerts. So it would be a shame to miss such an irretrievable moment.
The band itself and the current label didn’t have a recording planned of their own - the organisation of the extensive tour itself bundled all available forces with the management and the band at that time. The question arose whether one could not try to get such a project through the fanbase. 10 years earlier during the recordings for “The Concert that never happened before” this had worked out wonderfully and led to a very nice DVD.
At first it was really only about having the pure recordings “in the box” as long as the sensational tour was still going on. What happens later with the recordings (editing and release) is another question and could be considered afterwards in peace.
Fortunately the band was very open for such a project and the management had promised us support. It could start.
Due to the short planning time Hamburg offered itself as a film location. The Laeiszhalle is a very nice location and cultural institution, the local organizers were very accommodating, and we got a short-term filming permit. In addition, the film team we had planned (Paddy and his Crazy Clip TV) comes from Hamburg and knows the area very well.
Such short-term planning brought with it some special challenges. For the camera positions, for example, there were only a few options available. Cameras were not allowed to obstruct the view or escape routes. The show was sold out, so it was no longer possible to reserve rows of seats for the recording technology. The elaborate solution was to use a lot of small, inconspicuous cameras instead, most of them mounted somewhere inconspicuous on the stage and in the hall.
The stage lighting was ready programmed and could not easily be adapted to the special requirements of a video production in the evening. We had to expect that some of the recordings would be darker than we were used to from concert broadcasts. However, the result was that the recordings were also very atmospheric, sometimes mysterious.
We also had to struggle with the fact that due to the relatively small but deep stage some sequences in the evening went spontaneously differently than planned, so that not all permanently mounted camera positions took good pictures. For example, the piano keys of Ernst or Goran with the electric guitar at the front of the stage were sometimes difficult to film and Sabine’s face was sometimes covered by the microphone stand. So we were happy to have invested in so many cameras that we still got useful pictures despite the surprises.
Moreover, Jana, who is a professional filmmaker and herself a big fan of Lakaien, kindly offered to film us some missing detail shots in Leipzig. With this we were able to make up for “gaps” in our Hamburg footage and show you more details of what happened on stage.
Ernst had recorded the concert for us in surround sound. With surround sound, you can’t cut the sound yourself in a film studio with normal equipment, that needs special equipment. The process is then such that the film is first roughly pre-cut. Then the sound track is mixed in the recording studio, returned to the film studio and the visual material is synchronized to the sound.
This meant for us: First, material of almost 3 hours length had to be viewed in the editing studio and synchronized on the editing station. Per camera! With 11 cameras, how many hours were that together?
Then the concert was cut to the final length. That means above all: shortening breaks that are boring in the film. And we noticed that Ernst’s surprise gag on the video didn’t work. (I mean the terrible moment when the electronics seem to just beep and our long-time live mixer Ernst Sieber bravely “saves” this situation by reaching for the guitar to replace the “fancy” electronics with his live playing in the most beautiful Rock’n’Roll manner).
With our list to the second Ernst cut the sound. One can only guess that for Ernst this meant countless days of sound mixing, mixing many tracks for 3 hours. - A nice side effect: this mix was also the foundation for the following live double CD, our small film initiative indirectly made this wonderful live recording available on CD.
Then the actual editing began. Due to the dark light atmosphere and the mostly fixed camera positions you couldn’t cut as you normally know it. We had to develop a new concept, I call it “musical editing” (instead of the fast, modern “MTV editing”). We strongly oriented ourselves on the music in order to “breathe” cinematically with it, to anticipate musical twists and turns, and allowed ourselves to leave the picture standing for quite a while, for example with some very quiet pieces by Helium Vola.
The video’s ready. Up to here the planning went. And now?
In the last years the habits have changed a lot, how music videos are seen. There are streaming portals, there are different formats of DVDs….
We are especially interested in DVDs and Blu-Ray (our favourite). Both formats have advantages and disadvantages, and we don’t know which players you have at home. Furthermore, we don’t know if we can finance the production at all, if there are enough people interested in a release to recover the costs.
The professionals with online shop experience have to be involved in distribution so that everything is secure and works out: The distribution would therefore be taken over by the Deine Lakaien Merchandise Shop.
Calculation: The more prospective customers there are, the cheaper the DVD can be. If there are not enough interested parties, the DVD will not be offered.
First of all the costs: Gema, taxes, production, mailorder/management, etc. Then the participants who have pre-financed the video with private funds should get back the expenses if possible. If anything remains, it goes to the musicians. Colour-ize is and remains a private circle of friends, non-profit.
We didn’t want to “guess” here, but to find out together with you how the release could be, so that as many of you as possible would benefit from it. That’s why we started a poll. We ask you to join us all. This motivates us on the one hand to continue with the project and on the other hand we know better how it could go on.
Discuss with us at the forum!