Why is the music industry so uncreative these days

"Actually my whole life is a pure self-therapy"

Innsbruck musician Jo Stöckholzer wants to really take off after his first album. In an interview with unhappyus, he talks about sins of youth, fatal fame and how to survive the madness of the music business.

Punctually at half past five he enters the room and walks straight up to me. In my left hand the bulging plastic bag of an electrical goods retailer in my hand, the right one stretching out towards me. He sits down, runs his way through his not quite shoulder-length, somewhat disheveled hair and we get started. When the waitress arrives, he orders tea. So he sits in front of me, the city troubadour, 23 years old and yet not a new face in the local music scene. Jo does not speak aloud, but mantra-like and feels his way through his formulations for the meaning of his desired answer. It is the same with his music. “I sit there, play something and sing along with it at the same time. Then phrases come up from the subconscious and this is how songs often emerge, and it takes me six months to figure out what I meant by myself. ”He enthusiastically explains that so many songs can be done in just ten minutes. He thinks about it, smiles mischievously and says: “Self-help.” Johannes can laugh at himself. A kind of humor that you probably need in today's music business.

It all started in little Patsch at the foot of the Patscherkofel, where he started playing drums when he was nine. The only instrument he has ever taken a lesson in. In his school days he played as a drummer in the teen band Half-past whatever from the schoolyard to the Frequency Festival and back again, an instructive and lesson-rich time that he with a smile describes as a sin of youth. At the age of 17 the decision was made to go on alone - or to start alone. Since then, Jo has been working and fighting hard for his dream of making a living from music and creating something lasting.

"Imagine if Herbert Grönemeyer had gone to The Voice of Germany ..."

"... nobody would have turned around. Really not. But he is as revolutionary as he sings, as he writes his songs. That is a goal to achieve something like that. ”Although his role models, whom he calls“ heroes ”, encourage him, he seems to want to go his own way. Being able to live out your own creativity has its price. Stöckholzer organizes everything himself, works as a graphic designer and only gets around to making music in the early hours of the morning. His music is diverse, classical songwriting hovers on his debut in the fragile framework of electronic music. It shouldn't stay that way: After a cooperation with the Melodic Hardcore band Trip sitter the second album, which will be released at the end of the year, should sound a bit like hip hop. The new Austropop wave under the vanguard of Wanda, Picture book and Co. has catapulted Austria onto the umbrella of the large German music industry. Bands of the hour are chosen almost every week, but very few can maintain their level. Jo Stöckholzer is patient. He has experienced first hand how a too rapid rise can destroy a band: “It is not entirely healthy for the formation of a self-image.” He considers Justin Bieber to be the best example of an exploding personality cult and its effects. “I think Justin Bieber is the ultimate example. Really from 0 to 100, with which you can really ruin a person. ”He doesn't want to mess with his German and Austrian colleagues, because there, too, there are journeymen with a tendency to overestimate themselves. In the domestic music industry, up to a certain level of awareness, people prefer to shake hands. Freunderlwirtschaft exceptionally in a meaningful context, because alone you get lost in music more often than with two or three people. "The more you maintain your network, the further it goes." But it's not just the music industry and online streaming services that don't make things easy for little musicians. You don't earn much without concerts, and even Innsbruck there is more of this than you could visit.

"We sometimes played in slums"

 

In the spring, Johannes Stöckholzer toured with the band Trip sitter after working together on the common song "Tut gut" in a pink van through Russia and made experiences with a market that is not as flooded as in this country. “They just don't have the abundance yet. And that was very nice because they spend the money there that they don't have. They're just happy that someone from Western Europe comes into their town and plays, because they don't have that every day. ”Jo and the boys from Trip sitter refrained from their tour, sometimes played and slept in run-down neighborhoods or slums. The day before the interview, Jo was on tour in Slovakia. What to do with adventures Trip sitter learned: to be able to sleep anywhere. Jo is probably the first German-speaking songwriter from Innsbruck to go on a tour of Russia. This came about through the befriended band Trip sitterwho still had a seat available on their planned tour. “It's great for me when I can say that I'm going on a tour of Russia as a German-speaking songwriter. Another thing that stays in the mind. ”At home there is a battle for likes on Facebook and views on YouTube. If you want to be successful as a songwriter, you need a target group and the courage to play music outside of the top 40. “It is of course easier with good-humored music because people prefer to laugh than cry. My target group is someone who wants to deal with it and want to respond to it and really want to feel it live. ”We talk for a long time about the question of whether the world still has room for poetry. Open-ended questions are made for Jo because that's how his thinking seems to work. He distills his sentences and thinks until the essence comes out of his mouth. "What used to be written out beautifully is now satire," he says after thinking about it for a long time. People seem dull to him, but he does not view these things critically, but rather soberly. Then what should the perfect text be? "In a nutshell, it has to be as clear and weird as possible today, then you've created something good." Satirists, he thinks, are the new heroes in a time when nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.

 

"In Innsbruck you have the advantage that you are actually right in the middle of it"

 

Jo lives and works in Innsbruck. While many of his friends and colleagues move to big cities, he stays in the small town and tries to take advantage of the situation. “As a German-speaking musician, you have the advantage in Innsbruck that you are actually right in the middle of it all. You have Germany, you have Austria, you have Switzerland, you have South Tyrol, so you are really right in the middle. ”And he is by no means the only one. A manageable but interesting music scene has developed in Innsbruck over the past few years. In Innsbruck in particular, a lot works through the networks that the Innsbruck musicians form together. Jo is good friends with some local artists and supports the newcomers to the local music scene. With hard work, new ideas and support from fans and colleagues, Jo wants to make it. What is particularly close to his heart: Motivate other people to make music. For the German songwriter Lukas Herbertson, for example, Jo was a kind of role model himself. "It is also a small goal to motivate other people."

When we are finished and sit down for a short film interview in the icy greenhouse garden, we are disturbed by an airplane, the church bells of the Jesuit church, the soundcheck of the band that is making a guest appearance that evening and a car driver honking. "Actually, you should leave it that way," says Jo with a laugh. Maybe I really should. Somehow it suits a young musician who likes to experiment and who can also poke fun at himself. Yeah, I just leave it like that.