On the 9th of June, Jadu joined our live lockdown stream for a chat and an intimate, acoustic performance. The enigmatic German artist has made waves on the international music scene, creating her own niche genre called “military dream pop”.
She was handpicked to join Lindemann’s huge international tour this year as a supporting act. Jadu brought her anthemic, powerful melodies and formidable vocals to the explosive tour. Her performances are often more like immersive, conceptual art pieces than a music act. She has a very specific set design, costume design and imagery accompanying her tunes.
As the Lindemann tour sadly had to be cancelled mid-way through, Jadu returned to Berlin where she’s since been in lockdown working on her music, and luckily for us, taking the time to join our Tuesday night live stream.
“Greetings from Berlin!”
“It’s crazy because just a couple of months ago, I saw you play here in London and you were going off touring for God knows how long, and now we’re all in isolation instead.” Simona says.
“Yeah, it’s crazy. It was a huge tour – normally when you come back from a tour, you’ll fall into a big hole, but coming back to a lockdown is really crazy, you can’t see your friends and talk about things, so the first couple of weeks back were [weird]… But now I’m doing fine!”
When the huge stadium international Lindemann tour was unexpectedly cancelled due to Covid-19, Jadu flew back to Berlin to self-isolate. But how was the part of the tour they were able to complete?
“It was an amazing time, we had so much fun and it was really great to play shows like that. I’d never played anywhere outside of Germany before, and the energy in London was amazing. We had the last show of the tour in Moscow because of Corona, but my band couldn’t go in and I had to climb up on the stage alone.”
The Moscow show, which was supposed to be the biggest show of the tour, was changed last minute to comply with measures put in place for large audience events due to the pandemic.
“They split the show, it was supposed to be the biggest show of the whole tour, 12 000 people or something like that, and instead they had to split it up because of Corona. So we played two shows, one for about 3000 people and the other for about 8000 people I think.”
Where her stage shows have been arresting, conceptual and quite dramatic, Jadu brought the tempo down for her intimate performance for us. She tells us this is her first time playing for a live stream in front of a computer. “When you played live, it took me to a different dimension – all of a sudden we weren’t in 2020 anymore and we went back in time. I loved it,” Simona tells her.
Jadu plays a stripped down version of a couple of her songs – transforming “Uniform” from a military-inspired confrontational rock anthem to a slow, languid, haunting slow song, “a romantic version”, as she put it.
“I made music my whole life. Before I started singing, I played guitar and drums, but I always sang with my sister. We made music together in the garage. At some point, I started to write my own lyrics and got the feeling more and more that I had something to say. It’s kind of like a diary for me, I write things down and then make something out of it. Then there’s writing the music, getting the melodies and the lyrics together…And I started to feel more and more that I had to be a musician, I didn’t want to do anything else.”
While performing, Jadu has an incredible presence. She brings a refined sensuality to these intimate acoustic versions of her anthemic power songs. The ability to transform her discography to slow, bittersweet ballads that are every bit as captivating as her militaristic live show is impressive.
The music video for “Uniform”, one of Jadu’s most well-known songs, is equally conceptual and creative as her live shows.
“It’s kind of provocative [the video], but also I think it’s always good when people see something and start to talk about it, have their own ideas about it, put their own political meanings to things… I like artists that make their own way of thinking, like creating videos and music that’ll take people to other dimensions.”
She’s collector of vintage items. Jadu’s life seems full of carefully curated items that she treasures – “Everything I love has a name…my car is Wollfram, and the guitar is Grietchen,” she says, smiling.
“The funny thing is most of the things I have on stage is actually my furniture. Like this old microphone, this is a vintage microphone from the 20s, I think, and I use this on stage. It hasn’t broken yet…nobody would really take an old microphone on a crazy tour like that since it’s a real vintage item, but it hasn’t broken yet!”
The enigmatic singer, from Bad Essen, a small town in Osnabrück, quickly became known for her Avant garde performances, steeped in history and modernism. But how did she land the coveted supporting act slot for Lindemann’s tour?
“I knew Lindemann a little bit before, he came to one of my first shows in Berlin actually, and when I heard he was going on tour, I just texted him. Fun fact about this story, I texted him that I knew he was looking for a support band, that I would love to do it, and that I would climb on stage by myself with my guitar if I had to. I thought about that when I was climbing up on stage in Moscow all alone with my guitar. I just asked him, and he said, ‘yes, let’s go”.
To finish off her performance for us, Jadu plays a world premiere of her new song, “Matre Dame”, which in her words is about “an artwork standing in flames that needs to be rescued”. It’s a beautiful, tender song which allows her gorgeous, smooth vocals to shine.