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Light Among The Shadows: An Interview with Blanka of Len Sander

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Photo: Gene Glover

Swiss electronic noir band Len Sander has carved out a coolly captivating niche for itself with its stark, dark electronic music. Front woman Blanka Inauen is in full control of her dispassionately alluring vocals, drawing listeners in with her siren call. She is joined by Alessandro Hug, Flavio Schönholzer, Markus Brütsch, Simon Inauen, and Dennis Schärer and together, under the moniker Len Sander, they released their debut album, Phantom Garden in 2015, as well as their Places EP.

The follow-up EP Saltlick came out May 20th on Mouthwatering records.

Blanka explains more about the band’s lighter, brighter change in sound and vision below:

Stereo Embers Magazine: It’s been a while since you released your debut album, Phantom Garden. What has changes have occurred in the world of Len Sander since that time?

Blanka: Our debut album, Phantom Garden, was a great success. We played a lot of shows in 2015. Because of all the touring, there was not that much time left to produce new music and to develop our sound. We found ways to work hard and enjoy ourselves at the same time. A lot of things have changed in the past years. We are working with Mouthwatering Records, for example, and are more committed than ever to get our music out there.

SEM: Is Len Sander as a band, or as individual members, are you naturally attracted to the darker end of the musical and emotional spectrum? 

Blanka: For me, the Saltlick EP is already much more optimistic and positive than our debut Phantom Garden. Generally, I think that music and melancholy go together very well and the production of Phantom Garden fell into quite a dark time. That is also why with the new EP we wanted to go in a different direction. We wanted to try out new sounds and melodies and compose more within a classical pop structure.

SEM: Although the Saltlick EP is still imbued with a dark aura, it feels more sensual and tactile than your previous output. What in your life actually spurred you to make these changes to your sound?

Blanka: I wanted to leave the Phantom Garden-period behind, musically and personally. And I also fell in love.

SEM: The production style also complements these subtle shifts. Was that a conscious choice or a natural progression? 

Blanka: We are always trying to improve our production skills so that we can best serve the songs. Being able to create the production that fits a song perfectly is a great feeling. So I think that it was a conscious decision, but it happened naturally.

SEM: You’ve been performing live a lot these days. How has the touring life been treating you? Has it affected how you experience and hear your own music? 

Blanka: We always adapt the songs to the live situation and we love to think about how the audience will react to the music. Producing music for an album and for the stage are definitely two very different things. It is funny to see how a song has two lives, really; the one on the record and the one in a live situation. We like to play with this too, because this gives us the chance to reinterpret a song.

SEM: Is it hard to replicate the level of intimacy and tension found on your recordings in the live setting? 

Blanka: Live, we want to communicate a very wide spectrum of emotions, so we play very intimate songs along with more dance-based tracks and I think this combination works out very well. We have been getting great feedback from our live shows.

SEM: Which is more appealing to you, the recording process or performing live? 

Blanka: I think that definitely both are part of the process of making music. The recording process helps to get your mind focused; to slow down and follow an idea to its core. Being onstage, however, gives you adrenaline and forces you to move out of your comfort zone. This helped me grow a lot.

SEM: In closing, what’s next for Len Sander?

Blanka: First of all, we want to play live as much as possible. Now we’re kind of having a production break, so I don’t know what will happen with music creation once we’re back in the studio. In the meantime we also have some collaborations with other musicians and artists coming up, and in the long term I would like to connect the music with more visual elements.

Learn more about Len Sander