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Interview with soul-rock band Wagner the Band

Vienna-based singer/songwriter Rainer Wagner was born in 1983 in the small town of Wiener Neustadt south of Vienna. He grew up listening to 60s and 70s music and later in life he was heavily influenced by the funk and soul music of Prince.

After some failed band projects in his early twenties, he decided to go on a 3year singing and vocal coaching education in Copenhagen and graduated in 2017. Apart from his studies, he gained a lot of experience playing in several cover bands but always with the dream in mind that one day he will create his own project.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Probably the earliest memories I recall are driving on holidays with my parents in a little car and my dad singing, whistling or humming songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and later, as a teenager, I listened to my dad’s vinyl collection consisting of bands like The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix. I was born in the 80s but I am a musical child of the 60s.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

For me, there are no real rules or strict processes when it comes to songwriting. Sometimes I get inspired by a good movie, sometimes I play chords and start flow singing over them, other times I start with the lyrics and move on from there.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I have a toolbox that I call the songwriting circle. It’s based on the idea that you start with one thing, for instance with writing lyrics, and if you get stuck you move on to another one, f.i. playing chords or flow singing or playing around with grooves. Anytime you get stuck you move on to the next thing.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

I would fight for more artistic depth, fair payment of artists, more variety in the mainstream radios… Now I sound like a politician. Vote for me!!!

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I love both and I wouldn’t separate them from each other. Often when I write music I visualize myself performing the song live. I think that helps me to stay focused on what the song really needs.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

The first time I heard someone singing a song of mine. That was pure magic!

What’s on your current playlist?

Paolo Nutini, Prince, Gregory Porter, Michael Kiwanuka, Damien Rice, Lylit, Joe Traxler, KTEE, …..

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

Apart from more live shows I will go to the studio and record a live EP with songs from my debut album ”Awkward Hearts” and release them in 2020.

Famous last words?

I should have never switched from Scotch to Martinis

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