“Iggy ist gerade noch nackt”, begrüßt mich Lions Head Drummer Jojo am Eingang des Backstagebereichs. Der Arme trägt einen Damenstrumpf, wurde auf Sri Lanka von einem Straßenköter gebissen. Wir steuern aufs Zelt zu, wo sich Frontmann Iggy gerade noch sein Shirt überstreift. “Hi Nina”, er umarmt mich, dann geht’s Richtung Kühlschrank. “Wanna drink a beer?” – Ehe ich mich versehe, habe ich ein Beck’s in der Hand und ne Handvoll neuer Leute kennengelernt, die Crew. “It’s Doni’s birthday today”, sagt Iggy, als er mir seinen BFF Doni, Producer und Ableton Player, vorstellt. Dann ergreifen wir die Flucht – für das vielleicht ehrlichste Interview, das Iggy je gegeben hat.
I was partying all night last night”, erzählt Iggy. “Where do you party in Berlin?”, frage ich, als ich meine Tonaufnahme starte. “Oh, we are on the record now?”, kurz irritiert fährt er fort: “We were partying at a friend’s place in Friedrichshain.” Ob er dort auch wohnt, will ich wissen. “No, I live in Neukölln. With two roommates. I moved there about one year and a half ago. And for a year and a half before that I lived in Munich.”
Why did you move? Did Munich become boring?
No, I have a feel for the city. There are things I love about it and things I hate about it.
What do you hate about Munich?
I hate that everything is closed on Sunday. I hate that there are not a lot of people. But Munich is beautiful. I love the food. There are a lot of great things and a lot of bad things, which is the case with every city. But Munich is a village.
You grew up in New York. There’s nothing you can’t do.
There are a lot of things I hate about New York, too.
What is it?
How expensive it is. How dirty it is. The air is okay, it’s not as bad as L.A. air but it’s filthy.
What do you love about New York?
My family, my friends. I think everybody loves where they grew up, you know.
How often do you visit your hometown?
I was there three weeks ago. Or Maybe it was a month ago, I don’t know. I was in LA, New York and DC like a month ago.
I don’t want a burger anymore.
So you always combine your trip to New York with other cities?
No, I was actually going for my grandmas 80th birthday. But I was also doing some songwriting and recording for the next album in LA, New York and Las Vegas. I hated Las Vegas.
I thought it was horrible there. And a weird windy desert hot. I never wanted to go to Las Vegas before – it was my first time. A producer lives there and we wanted to record a few songs. We recorded like four or five days there. The recording was good.
What are some of the things you always do when in New York?
I always go to J. G. Melon – it’s a burger place. But after Vegas I didn’t want a burger since the whole city smelled like a burger cooking. It’s disgusting. You get a whiff of a burger cooking everywhere you go because it is so windy. I don’t want a burger anymore.
But there is also a place I go fur buffalo wings. I do food stuff but mainly go to see my family. My mum has two border collie mixes, I miss them a lot.
Why don’t you get a dog in Berlin?
I don’t have time to take care of a dog. I am home like… yesterday was my first day off in three weeks or a month.
What did you do on your day off?
I hang out with my friends and had a party. I woke up, went out for lunch and then my friends and I partied.
Where do you lunch in Berlin?
There are lot of places. But the other day I had lunch at „Cocolo” – a japenese ramen place in Kreuzberg.
What is your favorite German word?
Who’s a geile Sau?
Doni is a geile Sau.
But actually my favorite word in German is „Handschuhe”. It is the most ridiculous word. Because it’s „hand shoes” instead of „gloves”. And we don’t say „I need some shoes for my hands”. It’s just so literal.
My songs have this campfire vibe.
Let’s talk about your music. Wanna describe it?
I hate doing that. I think it’s just singer songwriter music that you can dance to?
Okay, so no deeper thoughts?
No. My songs are just a little story of something that I have experienced or something I’ve noticed or observed. I think that the instrumentation is pretty simple but the songs all kind of groove. I was saying „bonfire disco” for a while but I got sick of saying that. I don’t wanna say it anymore.
I like that description… „bonfire disco”.
Yeah, I think a lot of my songs have this campfire vibe. But a campfire is boring so you want a bonfire – a big fire where in discos you can dance to it.
People always ask how I would describe my own music. And I had this neat little sentence but I just got tired of using that sentence.
You once said your music is also about „living, laughing, loving and losing”.
There are a lot of things I said that are not true. But yeah, it’s the content of the songs.
Is life also about that?
Life is all of those things. There are always different aspects of life. I think the best songs have something that seem mundane and boring and you need to describe it in an interesting way.
As a kid you sang at the Metropolitan Opera for five years. What did you learn about music and about life?
I learned about discipline. I got to sing with one of the greatest musicians in the whole world. I also learned a lot about stage performance and professionalism. Putting on a show. There are so many things that I don’t think I am even aware of that I learned them. It was an amazing experience – and I had it at so young. It was my first introduction to performance music on the highest level at such a young age.
I am Bad at breaking up.
When and how did you learn that music is what you live for?
Well, I taught myself the piano. And my mother saw that I had a good voice. I told her I wanted to be an actor or something and she brought me to an audition to the Metropolitan Opera. So, thank you mum.
Do you have siblings?
Yes, two brothers, One goes to law school in DC. And the other still lives in New York. We are all a year and a half or two years apart. I am the oldest.
Your song “See You” is about a break up – but you can’t stop seeing that girl because you are kind of addicted to her („I don’t wanna see you but I don’t wanna see you go”). Did get over it?
I never talked to her about it.
She doesn’t know that the song is about her?
No. I don’t know. But I think it is a thing everybody goes through when you break up with someone. And then you meet back up and you kiss, you have sex or you have lunch. You are supposed to be breaking up but you keep on seeing each other and it builds up expectations for something that should have no expectations. So it kind of hurts. I think everybody does that, you know. I’ve done it in every relationship, not just in this one. I am bad at breaking up.
Why would you say that?
So deep and lost, I don’t know. Love or loss. But, I mean, both come and go. You fall in love with different people at different times in your life – based on how you are feeling, how they are feeling, where you are in your life. I don’t think there is only one person. There are a lot of people for everyone – it just depends on what stage you are in your life.
There is not only one person that was born for you.
Did you already write a song about it?
Yeah, the new one. It’s coming out in about two weeks. It’s called „True Love”.
Is it gonna be a summer hit?
I don’t know. Making a hit song – it’s so much luck, so many promotion things after. I never would have thought that „When I Wake Up” would become so popular. It’s such a… not stupid song but… I don’t think it needs to be really deep but maybe good?
I can’t help myself. But the new song „True Love” is about that everybody puts these expectations that you are supposed to find this one person. And I think you just set yourself up to be disappointed. Because there is not only one person that was born for you, that’s perfect for you. It has to do with your stage in life and your mental stage, what you are feeling and what you want. All these things. It’s more about timing.
So you don’t believe that there is a soulmate out there for you?
Sure, but not just one. There are a lot of people and maybe at one point they can be your soulmate and one time they couldn’t, you know. I think it’s circumstantial.
You are speaking out of my mind. I just experienced something exactly like that. It’s like: He is my soulmate but maybe not anymore.
You grew apart, right. That is what the new one is about. But maybe you meet again at some other point in your lives.
So it has deeper thoughts than „When I Wake Up”?
I think it’s still kinda funny. Maybe it’s deep… -er. I originally wrote the song „I hope you are not here when I wake up”.
Why would you do that?
It just came out of my mouth. I don’t always think about what’s going to come when I write about it.
It goes through waves.
Why did you change the line?
Because, at the end, it wasn’t what the song was about. The emotion and the story changed while writing. The song is about an experience. And it has to be true to the experience.
Songwriting is complicated, right?
No. I mean, it can be. But when it’s complicated it’s usually not very good.
So you’re just waiting for your flow?
No, you have to write all the time. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it sucks. You can’t just sit there and wait „I hope a hit comes to me. Come to me hit!”. Sometimes you just have to fucking do it. Even if you don’t want to.
How many songs do you write like in a week?
I go through different periods of productivity – sometimes I write a song a day, sometimes I write one song a week. Lately I’ve been writing a lot of songs. It goes through waves.
But your second album is complete now?
No, I’ve written like 12 songs for it. And I wanna write more and finish it over the summer. But I’m gonna release two or three more singles before the end of the year. And then the album at the end of the year.
All my dreams are coming true.
And then you decide which singles are gonna make it to the album?
Yeah, but the record label cares more about the singles than about the album. People buy singles, not an album. On Spotify you just listen to your favorite songs, right?
What is your most personal or emotional song?
There is a song called „Free” but I didn’t record it on the album.
The record label didn’t want it on the album. It was not my favorite either but I felt very emotional when I wrote it because I got to write it when I first got to Germany. And I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t have a record deal, I didn’t have like anything. I was writing for other artists. And I was coming to this country… and I don’t know. When I look at the lyrics, it was about me hoping that everything that is happening now would happen. So it’s emotional when I remember how I felt then. Like very alone and scared. And then I wrote a song about hoping that one day all my dreams will come true. But it’s fine, all my dreams are coming true,
There are also many fans that want me to play that song. I played it on a couple of shows. People were writing me „please play it”. Some girl got the lyrics tattooed on her.
Did you get your lyrics tattooed somewhere?
No. I just got two dots (on my chest and on my rib) when I was drunk. Maybe someday I connect dots all over me. A constellation like the big dipper. How do you say it in German? The shit in the sky that looks like a spoon…
Shut up, I am way too honest, do you get that? That’s fucked up.
Why are your crew members living all over Germany?
I don’t know. At the beginning of Lions Head some of them emailed me, wanted to work with me and I like that attitude. It’s like the attitude that we all had when I came to Germany. We all met through friends and knowing each other. It was like: This person knew that person and that person.
I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
When you came to Germany you promised yourself to leave your comfort zone every single day.
Yes, I certainly did that.
Well, being not in your own country already means not living in your comfort zone. You are away from your family and friends, from anything familiar. Especially, there is a different language – you don’t understand what’s being said around you. When I felt lonely and sad I couldn’t go to my parents for the weekend, I just had to fucking deal with it.
Do you regret leaving New York for Germany?
No, not at all.
If you don’t look at the success.
Then it’s even better. There are people I met that I love so much, they will be part of my life forever. And all the experiences I’ve had, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. And it’s not that far away from New York – I see my family a lot. I miss my friends from New York but I always knew that I want to travel around the world for this. And I am really happy living in Berlin.
Get to know Iggy
Richtiger Name: Ignacio Uriarte.
28 Jahre alt.
Spitzname “Iggy”, seine Familie nennt ihn auch “Nacho”.
Ist in Westchester, New York, aufgewachsen.
Hat chilenische Wurzeln.
Spricht fließend Spanisch und Italienisch (und sein Deutsch ist super, auch wenn er es nicht zugibt).
Hat an der NYU Musik und Literatur studiert.
Spielt Fußball in seiner Freizeit.
Liebt Bagels, mag aber keine Pancakes und keine Kartoffeln (Pommes sind natürlich eine Ausnahme).
Kocht am liebsten Pasta und kennt sogar den Ursprung der Gerichte.