Electric Callboy: "Constructive criticism is always good"



Electric Callboy have been through many ups and downs. In an interview, singer Kevin Ratajczak reveals how they deal with criticism.

Anyone who hears songs by Electric Callboy can't keep their feet still. Especially the titles suitable for parties on the new album "Tekkno", which will be released on September 16th, encourage dancing. Do the artists celebrate their songs themselves? "Usually no," replies singer and keyboardist Kevin Ratajczak in an interview with spot on news. At least that applies to public parties, "I always find it totally embarrassing," he says. Even dialogues like "My son makes music" - "Yes, do something" are "ultra embarrassing, even with friends". "I always want to sink into the ground there," adds Ratajczak.

There is only "a time when we party to our music when we write them," explains the singer. "The further the songwriting process progresses, the less you can hear your own songs. Then you kind of don't like your music for a while, until you play it live, and then that love kindles again."

Combination of metal and hits - fans dance "Deathcofox"

Electric Callboy live from the genre mix - in one of their latest songs they even combine metal with hits. "We love mixing genres and it's very extreme with 'Hurrikan' in particular," says Ratajczak. The combination of different types of music initially caused the band "very big problems, because we weren't really at home in any scene," says the musician. But "with the band's growing success, acceptance has increased - also for the fact that we simply do what we want". He also emphasizes: "As the saying goes: Success makes you right."

The idea of ​​a "Schlagercore" had been in the band's heads for a long time. "We had the instrumental for the Schlager part flying around for a long time. At some point we said, we'll do it now, but make something special out of it. Something that shocks and where people say: 'Oh, holy one , what happened there again?'" The song and the accompanying music video always shock – zombies and Ballermann star Mia Julia (35) included. "As is always the case, it's just a little joke and then we implement it far too professionally," says Ratajczak. When the band "Hurrikan" plays live, the audience dances to Discofox, he says. "We call it Deathcofox - self-explanatory, because people start with Discofox and then of course go off to the hard music afterwards. Wonderful, just super nice to look at."

Criticism of the previous band name: This is how the change came about

Electric Callboy have seen some ups and downs. The group has had to deal with criticism, both of some of the lyrics in old songs and of the past band name. In March 2022 the band changed their name, only the "Callboy" remained from the previous title. "Criticism is always good if it's constructive and you can deal with it," says Ratajczak. Criticism is "important because it helps with self-reflection and also with setting boundaries".

As the band's popularity grew, so did the criticism of the band's name, especially at a festival in Great Britain: "Canadian bands complained about the band's name - how can it be that a band like that performs there? That was the first time that without knowing us, we were prejudiced because of our name," says Ratajczak. From then on, the band began to research and talk to experts. "The main argument is that the Inuit call themselves Inuit and not the other word. The problem is that the other word was given to the indigenous peoples from this region by the colonial powers. The background is: When you hear the E-word, you don't picture a bank manager or your own boss, but some primitive human being. We don't want that and these people don't want that either," he emphasizes. With that, the decision was made: A new band name had to be found.

"After we thought about our band name more and more, we took this as an opportunity to examine ourselves in general and to approach some things self-critically. There were also different song lyrics by us, which are no longer quite compatible", tells Ratajczak.

Sexism debate about "Layla": leverage is "set too high"

A similar debate has broken out about the song "Layla" by DJ Robin & Schürze, the lyrics of which have been criticized as misogynistic. The track was named the official summer hit of 2022 and topped the charts for nine weeks. In the discussion, according to Ratajczak, "the leverage is set far too high". "We have so many in our musical landscape Artistwho are much rougher," he explains. "German rap in particular is played all the time, on every radio station. Everyone listens to it, the kids listen to it, nobody gives a damn." He didn't want to say that "everything is kosher with Layla, but I'm always a fan of fairness".

"It would be fair if all the songs in the German music landscape were rated according to the same standard," emphasizes Ratajczak. "And it won't be in this case. A song is stigmatized and then it's banged on." Apart from that, Ratajczak doesn't believe that the song "would have been as successful without this media presence, also because of the negative press".

He goes on to explain: "Sexism is one of the big problems in our society, you just have to look at it, you have to talk about it, you have to discuss it. I don't think much of bans, I find educational work better and better and we are the best example of this. "

What is art allowed to do?

What is clear for Kevin Ratajczak and Electric Callboy: "We firmly believe that there must be certain red lines for every artist that he does not cross and that cannot be excused by artistic freedom. Namely, where people are categorically discriminated against and We don't like that at all, because with our music we love bringing people together in front of the stage. The diversity that we can now observe on the shows is one of the greatest side effects of our music."

But there are also moments when you are "moving in a gray area" with your art. "It always depends very much on the context, which makes it complicated," explains the singer. "Who is the receiver? Who is the sender? Is the audience aware that if I express myself in a borderline way, my actual attitude is completely different? If I use that as a stylistic device, will everyone realize it? It is the responsibility of the audience to ensure that artist. That's why there are so many different opinions and perceptions of what art is ultimately allowed to do."

And electric call boy? In their lyrics, they build on "the good times," as Ratajczak explains. "We think it's really great to offer a little break from everyday life," he says. "Especially during the pandemic, we received so many messages in which people tell us that they feel good when they listen to our music and see our videos on the Internet. That they laugh and just let their soul dangle. If you have a After having a good time, alone or with friends, it feels easier to face the problems of everyday life again. That's a really great thing when you trigger that in people with your music."

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