"Smoke of the first fires" was inspired by John Steinbeck's "The Pearl", which aspect of the novel triggered the songwriting process?

I was very taken by the book. I'm a huge Steinbeck fan and this is my favorite. You know, when I finished and put down "The Pearl", I've spent a long time thinking about it and decided to write a song about it to process it all. The part when Kino decides to take his family and escape to the capital after their home is set on fire is what captivated me most. Kino would do anything to protect his loved ones and fails horribly. I believe greed is very much alive today and can only bring darkness.

"Only sounds okay" discusses the desire to write songs and sometimes realising that not every single idea is brilliant. Do you have somebody who comments on ideas even when you're writing for your solo efforts? How imporant is feedback for you?

I believe that if a tune I'm working on doesn't click after ten minutes then it never will and I move on to the next one. I never really sit down to write a song. I just pick the guitar and something happens. Or nothing happens. Most of the time, something happens and I'm very lucky that way. Feedback is important but feedback can really hurt and I'm a sensitive guy but I have a few people I send my demos to because I value their opinion. These songs are my life, so I got to be very careful.

Overall COMMUNICAUTION transports very negative feelings but you disguise them fairly well and use beautiful harmonies to candycoat them. Is music therapy and how about privacy … do you ever use chiffres or censor songs that are too private?

I like the concept of writing about dark things and make them into a hopeful, pretty song. I noticed only recently that my songs begin to have happy endings. I've been seeing a psychiatrist for years and participated in group therapies but music is the only therapy that really works. Apart from the pills of course. I don't ever censor myself. Everything is in there. If you want to know me, listen to my music. Honest music is the only music.

You put HÜSKER DÜ, THE REPLACEMENTS and BIG STAR on the thankslist as bands that have inspired you but some songs also have a Britpop-edge to them. Can people expect more songs going into the direction of "Run on empty"?

Everybody's saying that song sounds like Oasis but I was trying to write a John Lennon rocker. If I succeeded or not that's up to you to decide but I guess Noel Gallagher and I rip off the same man. He does it a lot more though. If you ask me, Beatles or Stones? I would say The Kinks anyway. I'm way more inspired by Alex Chilton and Paul Westerberg and they too ripped off The Beatles. I mean who hasn't? It's a simple rock'n'roll song that I don't take to seriously. No britpop. I'm not british.

How broad is your output when it comes to songwriting … are there any black metal songs as well? I mean "Someones by my side" has a rockabilly feel and it really belongs on that record, then there's that Blake Schwarzenbach-Vibe one can find in other songs … are there songs that you write that are totally off the chart and just too far out to put them on any VERSUS YOU or COMMUNICAUTION album?

Oh, very. It started with The Beatles and Bob Dylan when I was very little. Then I discovered punk rock but I always preferred the more melodic side of it. I like Black Flag and Discharge but they can never get me the way The Replacements or Hüsker Dü do. And so of course bands that came after them like Jawbreaker or early Lemonheads are some of my favorite bands. Blake Schwarzenbach has been a big influence since the beginning of Versus You and Communicaution and I can always listen to his records because I played a show with him, met him and we exchanged quite a few words. He's a really sweet guy. And he told me my music was very "heart-felt" which is something I'll never forget. No metal though. Can't stand it. "Someone By My Side" was highly inspired by Alex Chilton's "Like Flies On Sherbert". It's stripped down to 1 guitar, 1 bass guitar, 1 drums set and a one-take vocal. I really wish I had recorded that song drunk though but I still like how it came out.

Can you go a bit into the details about recording … any words of wisdom of what to avoid, what to do and how to keep up the morale? Record live as a band or avoid it because of the interference on each others instruments?

I believe in keeping it real. Rough. Honest. "Life Takes A Lifetime" for example was written, then recorded and that is the version you hear on the album. It was the first time I ever played that song. Of course we put drums and stuff on later but guitar and vocals were recorded live. All the songs on the record were recorded live. I like old music a lot because bands had to actually know how to play their songs because it was all done live in the studio. That's what I tried to do with this record and most of my records anyway. Record live as much as possible.

Playing live with VERSUS YOU probably is a whole different experience than doing a Eric Rosenfield soloshow. Where do you see the main differences or do you consider COMMUNICAUTION a band rather than a solo project?

I see them as two bands. I'm not even solo anymore. My long-time friend Charel Stoltz joined the band after the recording of "Unfixed". I've written every single song for both bands and they all work as rock and acoustic versions. I need both. I need distortion and loud drums but I also need the opposite. I consider myself lucky to be able to have both.

Who's responsible for your bookings, who can one contact to set up VERSUS YOU and COMMUNICAUTION shows?

You can contact these people if you wanna book a show: Felix Willikonsky @ Flix Agency Ed Boning @ !EBKG! Giordano Bruno @ G Chord Records

Thank you very much for the interview.

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