With our interview series »10 Questions With…,« we would like to introduce you to a number of bands and artists from this year’s Pop-Kultur programme who definitely deserve a place in your playlists and hearts. After SADO OPERA, MADANII & LLUCID, Mueran Humanos, Eat Lipstick, and Super Besse, 24/7 Diva Heaven are up next.
- How did you get to know each and how did the band get started?
Kat: We’ve all known each other for a while through concerts here in Berlin, cheered to each other at the bar and have a lot of friends in common. Mary (drums) approached me (Kat, guitar and vocals) one day to ask if I would be up for a jam session. A few months passed before I said yes since I hadn’t made music in a long time and needed to overcome some inhibitions first. But then the day came and we clicked immediately! It quickly became clear to us that we wanted to continue. All we needed was someone on bass. Thanks to a tip from a mutual friend we learnt that Karo’s a bassist. We asked her, and she said yes. The beginning of a musical love story…
- And where exactly does your name come from?
Kat: Admittedly, some people think the name’s rather strange. But there’s a story behind it: it’s taken from a very cool event series that regularly took place at Berlin’s Raumerweiterungshalle. It was called DIVA HEAVEN 7/11 and aimed at supporting queer and female artists, giving them a platform. There was always a lot of glamour somehow: glitter, great acts, a lot of creativity and a colourful audience. That left us very inspired. To be a diva for us means letting oneself go, expressing your own self with all its sides, even though that can mean that you rub someone up the wrong way or do meet normative standards. However, we do not let our inner diva out between only 7 and 11, but 24/7! A 24-hour trip in diva heaven, so to speak.
- Two years ago, none other than Jennifer Finch of L7 has drawn you a band logo. How did that come about?
Kat: That sounds a lot more spectacular than it actually was. All of us attended L7’s Berlin gig at SO36 and ended up meeting Jennifer Finch outside the venue by accident afterwards. Since we were currently recording and designing our debut EP, we were still looking frantically for cover ideas. We thought it would be cool if it was our band name, handwritten by one of the L7 members. So we asked Jennifer and she started drawing something. We didn’t end up using her artwork for the EP, but her reply to us telling her that we had now »formed a band« is still legendary: »Oh, I’m sorry!« That made us chuckle for months and months on end.
- Speaking of L7: your sound is notably influenced by punk and especially grunge or alternative rock from the 90s. Which music inspires you?
Kat: The 90s indeed play a huge role for us. There we find most of the bands that we all love and that have inspired us: Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Melvins, and several others. However, our tastes are very diverse and so there are many more influences that can be heard in our sound, like elements from metal music or stoner rock. We try to pick up on things we know and love but not to get stuck with nostalgia and instead updating these sounds in a way that combines all of our different preferences. We also aim to surprise instead of just trying to meet certain expectations about this or that genre.
- A sound like yours best unfolds itself in a live situation. Your set at Pop-Kultur however will of course be different. How did you approach it?
Kat: Yes, we agree with that! The energy of live concerts is essential because in a gig situation a good vibe can get the best out of the performers. Hence it was a challenge to record a Session without an audience, the main problem being to get in the right mood. We didn’t come up with anything unusual for our Session. When it comes to our performance, we are purists at heart and believe that the music and our movements along with it should speak for themselves. What’s important to us though and what we are always looking forward to before every single gig: putting on our lipstick and choosing a stage outfit, that’s really become a ritual! This is how we prepared for our Pop-Kultur Session as well. And if you feel comfortable in your own skin, your music will sound more confident, too. In our experience, at least. While we’re at it, we need to point out how amazing the entire Pop-Kultur team has been to us throughout that day, the vibe was just right. That made it easier for us of course to really let go while we’re on stage.
- You will present new music, too. In fact, you are working on a new LP. What can you tell us about the record?
Kat: Oh yeah, we’re really looking forward to releasing new songs! It’ll be our first full-length and that’s pretty exciting. We’re currently putting the finishing touches to the songs before we’re heading to the studio in September. Just like on our EP, we’re recording everything live with analogue equipment. We can already reveal that we’ve found a great label willing to do this with us. We’re very proud and super stoked! The collaboration and the release date will be announced very soon. It will definitely come out in the beginning of 2021. Stay tuned!
- Your debut EP »Superslide« was released digitally and CD, but also on tape. Why this format?
Kat: Friends of ours had founded the beautiful small tape label Mommy’s Mistakes Records. When they asked us if we’d up for releasing a cassette version of »Superslide,« us 90s retromaniacs didn’t need much persuasion and said yes immediately. It’s a format that evokes a lot of positive emotions for many people, it reminds you of your own childhood and youth, your favourite LP and how you took it everywhere in your Walkman. It’s also nice that you can’t skip around between songs, which provides a good opportunity to listen to a piece of music all the way through instead of just cherry picking individual tracks. And apparently a lot of people nowadays still own a tape deck, because the cassette sold out pretty quickly!
- Already your designs pick up on the aesthetics and topics of the riot grrrl movement. Is this reflected in your lyrics as well?
Kat: Absolutely. Our lyrics deal with topics that concern us on a daily basis, that we are confronted with and that we grapple with constantly: feminism, inequality, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, ecological problems and many more questions that we as a society and the individuals that we are have to ask ourselves in the year 2020. Music always reflects the zeitgeist and if we manage to contribute to these grievances being addressed and discussed, we’d like to do just that. However, it’s not our thing to preach or to lecture and forget to have fun between all of that. We just try to get into a good flow, be true to our convictions and find a balance between being serious and the irony that often comes with life. This contrast deeply fascinates us.
- »It’s okay to like us. Ask your mom first,« it says in your info on your social media. What do your moms say about the music you make?
Kat: Our moms are proud of us! At least two of our mothers even come from the field of rock music; one of them is even a die-hard L7 fan. No more words needed!
- What do you wish for the future of this world?
Kat: Isn’t that the kind of question you get asked at the end of a beauty contest? World peace, the answer should be then! This is something that we earnestly hope for, but there’s a lot of problems that need to be tackled collectively… In an ideal future people are people and are being treated equally, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or race. We have to learn to live more in sync with nature, to preserve this planet also for the coming generations. People should be able to live in peace and at ease, without war, persecution and poverty. Sounds impossible, sure, maybe though we as a society can contribute a little bit more to attaining that goal.