Kraków Loves Adana are Deniz Çiçek & Robert Heitmann, a duo based in Hamburg who’ve been making music together since 2006 having met through frequenting the same clubs.

They create instantly accessible yet intense tunes with deep poetic lyrics and a melancholic dark edge.

I could have a go at trying to define their genre –   but would you be any the wiser? For example, Spotify reckons my favourite genre is “Chamber Psych” but I’m yet to find anyone who knows what that is, including myself.

Instead, I strongly suggest you have a listen – particularly if you like bands along the lines of The Cure, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, Heaven 17, Human League, Joy Division, New Order.  If so then I believe there is every chance that you’re going to instantly fall in love with Kraków Loves Adana’s music, and the best news is that they’ve got 5 albums ready for your listening pleasure.

Having only discovered them this year via the single “The Ocean Between Us”, it’s been a delight working my way through their back catalogue, and their latest and 5th Studio Album “Darkest Dreams” is simply perfect – from the first track to the last there is absolutely no filler on it, just gem after gem any of which could be a single in it’s own right.  It’s by far my favourite album of the year.

If I had to choose a favourite track it would be Paradise on Fire, but honestly, every track is a winner.

Not content with releasing an amazing album, this year, they have also released an amazing e.p. “A Night to Remember”, released on cassette single.

The accompanying video which runs just under 10 minutes and features 2 of the songs is pretty epic too

Deniz and Robert kindly agreed to do an interview for Live Music Pix – I was keen to find out more about the band, in particular whether we can expect to see them in the UK at some point…

Interview with Kraków Loves Adana

Perhaps a silly question, but how has your 2020 been?
I guess it turned out much different than we all thought it would be at the beginning of the year.
I only discovered you this year, so it has been an absolute delight working my way through your back catalogue. As musicians, do you listen to your older albums much, or are you always focussing on the next album?
As soon as a record is out I always focus on the next album. The minute I hand the music over to our listeners it is theirs.
How do you get inspiration? Do you start with a melody and then find the words, or do you tend to think of the words first?
That is hard to say because it differs from song to song. I usually have days where I only write lyrics and then when I have a musical idea I try to combine those lyrics with the melody.
On Facebook you mentioned that you saw graffiti in Hamburg that read “Chase your dreams, hell awaits” and that was the inspiration for the title of the album, but it turned out to be quite prophetic due to problems you had with your label. Has the experience made you determined to self-release your music in future, or would you still sign to the right label?
Never say never but this experience has definitely taught us that most of the resources for the band come directly through us, be it creatively and/or financially. We don’t want to ask permission if something is good enough or ready enough to be released. Since I have been producing all the music myself anyway and Rob has been doing most of the visuals and promotion himself, we have found a self-sustaining system that carries this project. Also, we love to have a direct connection to our listeners, every record is directly shipped from us to them without any middlemen.
Bands usually tour to coincide with the release of their albums to help publicise it, but obviously this year touring wasn’t possible, has that caused you any problems? Were you tempted to postpone release until touring is possible again?
Of course it would have been great to perform the new songs live in front of an audience but we are not the typical touring band so for us it was out of question if we should postpone the release of Darkest Dreams. The album has been ready for a long time and it had to be released so I could let it go and focus on new music. Since we both have our day jobs and the music is purely our passion and more of a creative outlet and less about the money, we are in the lucky position of releasing music the way we like to. That’s also the reason why we didn’t do any livestreams or regulated live shows during the pandemic. If we play shows again, we want people to be able to completely enjoy the experience without the fear of catching a deadly virus.
If a genie let you choose the level of fame that Kraków Loves Adana reaches, would you prefer to be performing in big stadiums or being underground?
Everybody who would answer this question with staying underground must be lying lol. Although I am personally not a big fan of stadium concerts, they leave no room for mystery or connection with the performing artist. But seeing this as an allegory we of course want to reach as many people as possible with our music.
Do you enjoy performing live? If you could tour with any band past or present, who would it be?
To me performing live is like working out, I hate the thought of doing it and it’s stressful during it but afterwards I feel accomplished. Performing with Chromatics was actually a dream that came true and even though we’re not with our former label anymore, I am beyond grateful for the experience because I met a lot of amazing people through it, especially Chromatics own Adam Miller and Tess Roby. If I could choose my favorite band to play with in the future, it would probably be The Cure. Disintegration has been an integral part of my last couple of months and to me they are one of the best bands that our planet has ever been blessed with.
You make great videos, do you enjoy making them or is it just part of the process to promote your music?
Once we got an idea we really enjoy making them, especially the post production. But of course, it is a lot of work for us, too. So sometimes we work with a DOP if we feel like we lack the capability to make our ideas reality.
Robert doesn’t appear in many of your videos, is that because you prefer to be out of the limelight, or is it an artistic choice?
This kind a naturally evolved – with him on the other side of the lens we found a way to best realize our creative vision. He knows exactly what angles, looks and light I like, so it’s almost like I’m looking to his eyes on set as well. He is either directing or filming the videos or taking the photographs.
How do you feel about streaming sites and social media?
Social media is a great tool to reach and connect with an audience as long as you don’t get sucked in by it. I’ve come to hate Sp*tify though. I am not making music for any ‘Van Life’ or special mood playlist especially because I haven’t seen much engagement through any playlist placements. It is foolish to think that just because you’ve hit 100.000 monthly listeners that you actually have a fan base. That is simply not true. Most of the placements are bought anyway these days and I refuse to feed a system that isn’t even willed to pay one cent per stream to the artists. Imagine finding one cent lying somewhere in the street. You wouldn’t probably pick it up if it was too dirty because it isn’t worth the effort. It’s grotesque.
Have you any plans to play in the UK?
We probably will if this whole Brexit deal doesn’t thwart our plans.
A lot of female artists have been speaking out in recent years about the sexism they have to endure, guys in the audience with wandering hands, bookers who only book male acts and so on. Deniz, have you faced any of these kind of problems or is it less of a problem in Germany?
My creative abilities have definitely been underestimated because of my gender. Since we can’t afford a sound person for our live shows, I have faced a lot of uncomfortable situations where either the FOH has only talked to Rob and/or mansplained to me how everything in our setup was completely wrong. But even when we were with IDIB, people oftentimes complimented the production of the songs saying what a genius Johnny Jewel was, although (except for Follow The Voice) I was the only one who was in charge of the music and its production.
Do you listen to a lot of music? Are there any underground bands you think we should check out?
I listen to a lot of music but most of it is not contemporary. There definitely are a few great bands around though that deserve a lot more recognition, for example the Berlin based duo Bad Hammer

or Ava Vegas,

our Swedish friends Wy and Tess Roby’s new band Dawn To Dawn.

[I couldn’t find any videos for Dawn to Dawn so this is one by Tess Roby]

You released your EP “A Night To Remember” on cassette. Any particular reason? Do you like the aesthetic, or perhaps is it nostalgia? They look great btw!
We always wanted to make a Halloween themed release and when Rob designed the packaging for the cassettes I was totally hooked.
Is the electronic scene big in Hamburg?
I have no idea since we are not part of any scene around here.
I feel I have to ask you about the band name! From other interviews I’ve gleaned that it refers to the cities Krakow in Poland and Adana in Turkey. Is it a statement basically saying we shouldn’t care where people come from, and focus less on nationality and stereotypes? I think it’s a really cool name, but our Alexa never understands me when I ask to put your music on!
Yes, you got that one right :)!
Go easy on me 😊Are there any questions that interviewers ask that really get on your nerves?
Questions about the origin of our bands name hehe. But of course we understand that it is an unusual name for a band and makes people curious.
What are your hopes for 2021.
A vaccine, social justice and more great music from genuine people.

With many thanks to Deniz and Robert.

You can follow Kraków Loves Adana on Facebook and Bandcamp and YouTube or skim through their videos on New Music Online.