"Both performances – the Haut album show and the commission piece Atem – will be complete premieres, for the audience but also for myself."

Arguably the modern era’s most potent purveyor of Krautrock and its attendant sub-strains, producer and songwriter Sebastian Lee Philip has struck sonic gold with Die Wilde Jagd. Using a host of willing collaborators to travel as far as possible into the modern psych firmament, the band’s 2020 album Haut is a flat-out modern masterpiece, and the perfect transportive antidote to the past year’s real world ugliness. At Roadburn Redux, Sebastian and his fellow psychedelic companions will once again be in pursuit of that exhilarating higher plane of musical enlightenment.

Dom Lawson

How have you adapted to our weird new reality over the last year? Any new challenges, in terms of being creative?

“I feel that I’ve been fairly lucky in the sense that I always had my studio, my gear and ideas to retreat to. While I did miss the touring and traveling that was supposed to take place after the release of Haut in April 2020, I was still able to create new music and focus on producing and mixing other artists in my Berlin-based studio. Besides working on music, I also got more into video work, developing an audio-visual piece called Haut Ontogenesis for the Hebbel am Ufer theatre in Berlin. At the end of 2020, I received the exciting invitation to write a commission piece for this upcoming Roadburn Redux edition. I have since dedicated my time to evolving and rehearsing it with my musicians. This has kept me motivated through the winter. I love developing ideas from scratch, getting lost in that universe of forming thoughts.”

What can you tell us about your forthcoming Roadburn performance?

“Both performances – the Haut album show and the commission piece Atem – will be complete premieres, for the audience but also for myself. For the first time since playing live with the project, I’m including a third musician on stage: besides my drummer Ran Levari, Lih Qun Wong will be playing the cello and singing vocal parts. The songs from Haut have never been played live before, in fact there are certain songs on the album I had not planned to ever play live. But when Roadburn asked me if I’d be up for performing the album in full, I couldn’t resist the challenge.
“For the commission piece Atem, I decided to use the opportunity to apply different creative approaches in terms of instrumentation and composition techniques. The word Atem in German means breath. Breath is something I have been thinking about a lot in the past year. Hearing people talk about the popular ‘Wim Hof breathing method’ led me down a path of research about the science of breathing, our metabolism, physical and mental health and also the spiritual side of it. I started to link pace, dynamics, fluctuations, rhythm, and the transcendental properties of breathing to musical elements that I am always interested in exploring in my productions. In the Atem composition, I want to create musical connections between the different ‘layers’ of breath: the one that transcends time and space, the one our metabolic system uses in order to create existence and consciousness, and the layer of the actual manifestation of that existence – the self, the ego, life and experiences. To me, the piece is at the core a celebration of life and the wonders – some explained, many not – that make it happen.”

What does Roadburn mean to you, as creative people and on a personal level?

“Believe it or not, I had not heard of Roadburn before being invited to play the festival in 2020. When I mentioned the festival to some of my friends, they were in absolute awe about the fact I was going to play there, claiming It was one of their favourite yearly music events. When I checked the previous editions, I noticed that many artists I love had played there: Boris, Diamanda Galás, Psychic TV, Michael Rother, Killing Joke, Swans, Earth. It’s an honour to be joining this impressive list. I love the fact that Roadburn has a very distinctive identity and is yet very open to sounds and artists from different genres. There is this core common ground, but still a diverse and fresh mix of styles. I developed a friendly bond with Walter Hoeijmakers in the course of the production of the commission piece, and I have a lot of respect for the decision to go ahead with this year’s edition of the festival, considering all the challenges and difficulties that come with organising a festival during the pandemic.”

What are your hopes and plans for the (hopefully post-pandemic) future?

“My main hope is that everyone stays sane and keeps striving for a good life that respects their own personal development and that of the world around them. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to realise what one actually wants in this life – it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of suggested dreams that result in anxiousness and a seemingly healing remedy in meaningless entertainment and consumerism. I think that more than ever it’s important to feel the urge to learn, to discover, to change, to progress… and to breathe.”

What else are you looking forward to experiencing during Roadburn Redux?

“Just the whole experience of playing a show… driving there, carrying stuff, playing, meeting other people and checking out the other artists is something I’m really looking forward to experiencing again. My mother is Dutch and I spent a large part of my youth in Holland – it’ll be great to be back again, speak the language, and enjoy the Roadburn vibes to the fullest.”

Die Wilde Jagd will perform Atem on Friday 16 April and Haut in full (Saturday 17 April) as part of Roadburn Redux.