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out shows at London’s Royal Festival Hall and a sell out run in Colchester as well as rave reviews from Te Guardian and Te Times amongst their accolades, the innovation and creative spirit that runs apace through Norwich’s veins has never seemed more evident. Teir immersive music theatre pieces change at every venue they play, adapting to their surroundings. Tis December they’ll be performing some extra special shows at Te Shoe Factory Social right here in Norwich, and it’s going to be one of those performances that people talk about for years to come. I spoke to Karen Reilly, lead singer of Te Neutrinos and KlangHaus about their journey so far and a locked safe in an abandoned McDonalds.


orwich’s KlangHaus are a force to be reckoned with. Counting three sold out weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe, 41 sold


How did you come up with the idea for KlangHaus? We decided to go to Berlin to record an album outside of our normal day to day lives, out of our comfort zone. Our budget didn’t stretch to include paying for a recording studio so we found a building that we could work in. We had just lost our drummer to a job relocation (we’re now working with the wonderful Jeron Gundersen), so we took another band with us, the duo BK and Dad and a bunch of artists and writers. We quickly became obsessed with the building, what it sounded like and ended up pretty much recording the building. It was a combination of marble corridors, huge wooden orchestral rehearsal rooms and tiny studios, where

the former inhabitants had conducted wire-tapping and pushed out propaganda to the East from this, former East German radio station. Te building was full of ghosts and we fed off that to make stuff up. We made an album called Te Butcher of Common Sense. Tat was eight years ago and we have wanted to work with old buildings ever since, playing with their light and space. Our Berlin recordings came at the same time as we began questioning conventional gig formats and Late Night at Te Museums hosted by the Sainsbury Centre and Norwich Castle started inviting us to play as a band in the gallery space, so we hid behind the walls and pumped sounds through the

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tannoy and again used the building as a playground. We also wanted to blow people away with the magic of a very close-up format. KlangHaus is a massively immersive project as each time you take it to a new location it’s completely reinvented. Do you have brainstorming sessions to discover potential new venues and then decide on the theme for that particular show? We treat the venue/building like a band member, collaborator, a dirty friend, a surprise guest, a noisy child. It seems to be that we collectively and instinctively know when a venue feels great and this usually occurs when we visit, wander and chat about it afterwards. I was at your first show at the abandoned McDonalds in the Westlegate Tower a few years back – that was a very spooky experience and certainly unnerved a lot of the audience. Were you intrigued to see people’s reactions that first time around? It was really disgusting, with congealed McDonalds beef fat dripping from the ceiling onto the floor from a removed cooker extractor. Te most frightening thing was the walk-in safe which we were thinking of using for the show - we were considering getting the audience to walk in and we would have closed the door when leaving. However, when we tried it in rehearsal, once shut, the door locked electronically never to open again. It frightened the life out of us as we were on the verge of getting real, live humans in there and of course, if we had, they’d still be there. It was great seeing people’s reactions - it confirmed our belief that people are interested in seeing

buildings that most people don’t get the chance to see. Yes, people may have been a bit unnerved - that’s okay isn’t it? Te audience didn’t know what was going to happen next. You’ve had some amazing reviews and accolades from Te Guardian amongst others, and you’ve been on tour around Europe in the past. What are your plans for the future? We have just been booked for July 2017 back at the Southbank, a KlangHaus yet to be named that will grow out of the foundations laid by this year’s show, it wont be the same. We are playing in Luton in February, then booking a tour of residencies around the UK. We are in conversation about adventures in Albania and we want to play in Sydney behind the scenes at the OperaHaus! KlangHaus: Four Storeys is coming to St George’s Works right before Christmas. It’s an old shoe factory – do you write new songs for each site depending on the venue and its spiritual vibes and history? Have you got some songs about shoes and Christmas? We write some new songs for each space and if we happen to have a song that will fit the space like our favourite No Xmas, well we are just gonna damn well play it! Ha ha. We all remember the building as a furniture depository, Hadley and Ottaway and a piano storage facility, so we are running with those themes, a piano house and a warehouse full of belongings and moving house themes of belonging, leaving, arriving. I’m currently collecting spooky dolls houses!


> INFORMATION KlangHaus:Four Storeys will be at The Shoe Factory Social, St George’s Works on Muspole St. 20th -23rd December at 18.30 and 20.30. 23rd December 6.30 only. Tickets available from Read this interview in full at

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