Hubert von Goisern


S'NIX >> Interviews: 1 2 3 4

"Nothing" is indeed something: Interview with HvG

SWO 3rd November 2008 | Text: Viola Eigenbrodt

Hubert von GoisernWill there be a concert in South Tyrol in the near future?

Yes, next year in Bruneck and maybe a second too. (That will probably take place in Meran, says his agent)

How do you see the effects of your travels on your creative potential?

Nothing passes you by without leaving a trace - the substance, the raw material, you could say, constantly multiplies, the creative potential as you call it remains unchanged though. Whether you make something from it is not dependent on the abundance of resources.

How do you explain the success of your really very self-willed musical mix?

Am I successful? I am self-willed? I don't think about it - I make my music, what other kind should I make?

Can someone do politics with music, or how political is music, thinking of Bob Marley or Bob Dylan etc.?

You can do it, but you don't do the music any favours - music is great than politics can ever be.

Do you sometimes wish you were an nonpolitical person?

Who doesn't wish that things would go of their own accord. But they don't. Political decisions are constantly being made, within a family, a working group, a team, every cooperation needs a consensus - that's politics.

To whom do you feel beholden?

My conscience.

As a musician would anything else be generally possible?

Of course.

Some painters only develop the idea for their picture during the painting process, is that how it is for you when composing, or is the idea there in your head first?

One doesn't exclude the other!

How important to you is silence?


What does tradition mean to you, not just in music?

Tradition is like a rucksack, that we lug around and which fills more and more with advancing age. There are useful things within it - for every possible life situation, but much is bric-a-brac that has become unusable, sentimental memories of times past. It's worth clearing it out again and again. It makes the rucksack lighter and the journey through life more buoyant.

Do you still have your very first own instrument?

No, my first instrument was a trumpet - it was lent and was taken back by the brass band when I was thrown out.

Will you write film music again?

I can well imagine doing so.

Will you also take on an acting role again, like in Hölleisengretl?

I'd like to.

So perhaps we'll be able to admire the multitalented "alpinist" on celluloid soon, and who knows what else he has planned!

Flash heads are evenly spread

Kurier 30th October 2008 | Moderator: Martin Haiden | Photos: Julia Pühringer

Hubert von Goisern in the KURIER online chat about Armageddon 2012,
evenly spread flash heads and hearts in the right place.

Hubert von GoisernAnton F.: What's happening now with the ship with which you travelled the world? Will it be used again?

HvG: As far as I know the ship, the barge, is transporting ballast on the Danube again.

Christian W.: Don't you think it's a shame that there's barely any Austrian (dialect) music to be heard on Austria's radio stations?

HvG: You're right there. Unfortunately those who are responsible for the programming lack courage.

Heimo K.: Hello Hubert! How have you invested the money you have saved? At home under the mattress, or in the bank, or ... not ... or in shares?

HvG: I have spent most of it, for example I've built a house, had a ship fitted with a concert stage and given free concerts.

Thomas W.: Hello Hubert, I'd be interested to know how you see the hits that brought you your greatest (commercial) success today - do you like this musical style and would you perhaps make such music again sometime?

HvG: I have no reason to quarrel with my past and I play many of the songs that I composed in the 90s in my current programme.

christian F.: Hello Hubert, I'm Christian "Elbling", I hope you remember me (Wanssum) ... I don't know yet, whether the wine was any good ;-) ? I admire your efforts to bring people together and have followed this with interest! And experienced it at your concerts! ... especially in Holland. Compliments to your band! I can only say: keep it up! In Hilpoltstein I had the pleasure of hearing a song in English at the soundcheck - it was SUPER! Why not a song in English some time?

HvG: Yeah! High German is an option I keep thinking about too. I would have to relocate my production site to where they speak that way.

julian h.: Dear Hubert, like most people here I am fascinated by your music. Especially by albums like Fön, Trad and Iwasig. I know that you're a thoroughbred musician and want to try out many types of music and also have the urge to create something new. Are you thinking though of going back to your roots again after the current album, or trying something new again? (I'm looking forward to the gigs on Saturday and Sunday in the MQ)

HvG: I'll be playing the current programme until next summer and then I'll have a break and listen to see what comes up next.

julian h.: To which bands does Hubert Achleitner listen when he's not making music himself? Do you have any favourite artists?

HvG: Almost everything. A lot of rubbish too. Because you don't know beforehand when it's something new. But I admit: I enjoy either playing music myself, or enjoying the silence most of all. I'd much rather listen to music live than from a record.

kurt george w.: Do you believe in the Armageddon 2012, religions predict it. (Mayas, Incas, etc)

HvG: Yes. But I'm reckoning on it every moment, not waiting until 2012.

alexander h.: simply thank you for the many wonderful hours together.

HvG: You're welcome!

Martin S.: What do you have against the under 30s? Why should I beware of them?

HvG: Read the whole text on my homepage, then you'll know. But of course it's an exaggeration. I'm basically of the opinion that young people should have their hearts in the right place - on the left. It's normal to later turn to conservative views. But being young should accompany a progressive attitude.

Hubert von GoisernMartin S.: What makes Bad Goisern so exceptional? Why do so many "celebs" (Haider, Wilfried, Haubner, Hubert) come from there?

HvG: No idea, but as long as it balances out, the crazy ones are neutralised.

Roberta F.: Hello - of all the projects that you have done in the past years, which has made you the happiest?

HvG: It's always the one I've just finished.

martina v.: A question - the chat is called: "Beware of the under-30s" - which I see as an allusion to the political demonstration of wills of recent months. What do you see as the reason for this peculiar behaviour? It can't be down to just a black eye - or orange friendship bracelets.

HvG: Perhaps it's down to the fact that young people are more impressed by superficiality than content. Because when you visualise the election posters, H.C. or Jörg came across as being much more animated than the others, who seemed rather curmudgeonly.

Felix G.: Dear Hubert, why is it so difficult for you to cast off the Hiatamadl image?

HvG: Is it? I'm not aware of that.

alexander h.: How do you manage to be happy with it?

HvG: I just do.

Gudrun N.: I've heard, or read, that you want to write a book in the near future. Do you have concrete plans and can you give anything away, or are you the sort who doesn't count his chickens before they're hatched? If so, I'll just have to be surprised.

HvG: It's not that I want to keep you on tenterhooks, it's that I can only describe the book in one sentence when it's finished. Now I'd need many and it would exceed the confines of the chat.

fritz m.: Do you have any intentions to go into politics?

HvG: I think I'm too thin-skinned. I wouldn't be able to take the constant hostilities of the political dissidents. And I don't want to develop a thick skin. The only interesting post would be Federal President, where you stand above things.

Felix G.: Hello Hubert. Might you write the soundtrack for a big cinema film some time?

HvG: Why not?

Lisa M.: Hello Hubert! Many thanks for the wonderful concert in Leipzig, I hope we can see many more concerts with you. Are you coming to Thuringia next year? Greetings from Lisa from Thuringia and Co.

HvG: My tour is booked by my management in Munich. If there's an organiser in Thuringia, then there would be nothing standing in the way.

Felix G.: How were the lyrics to the song "Heast as nit" written?

HvG: At 7 o'clock in the morning, in Hütteldorf, sitting at the piano with a cup of tea, giving free reign to fingers and mind.

otto a.: You've got around a great deal - where do people still play best?

HvG: Still?

Felix G.: Dear Hubert, I (23) think that the new album with its high tempo, the volume and the rock music modernity appeals especially to young people. In Regensburg at the weekend though, I nonetheless got the impression that 70-80% of the guests were over 45. Why is it so difficult to get the young people back?

HvG: How can people find out what kind of music I play before they come to a concert? Only a very few find out about the new programme in advance and give me this advance of trust. Attracting a new audience works best with airplay of course, but German language music on German language broadcasters is an issue.

asf a.: Hello Hubert! What do you say to the swing to the right in Austria?

Hubert von GoisernHvG: It's just the way we are ... And thank God it's not just us. The flash heads of this world are pretty evenly distributed.

Lisa M.: How does it feel when you stand on stage after a new album and you don't know yet whether people will like it?

HvG: Cool!

eduard g.: Next year Linz will be the Capital of Culture - I've got the impression that those responsible have very cold feet and a lot is sinking into chaos. How does your involvement in it look - and what are the rewards for a city being Capital of Culture - what remains? Are there good role models? Liverpool for example doesn't seem to have appointed the thing particularly adeptly.

HvG: Both the distinction of "European Capital of Culture 2009" and the manager Martin Heller are a windfall for the city.

alexander h.: ... and suddenly wisdom and cleverness are radiating from my PC.

Hubert von Goisern live

Radio Arabella 30th October 2008

Hubert von Goisern live in the Museumsquartier on 1st and 2nd November.
On Bernhard Vosicky's show Klartext für Wien he tells listeners about the concerts ...

"I'm not running around, flag in hand"

Allgäuer Zeitung 15th October 2008

Interview: musician Hubert von Goisern likes crossing border,
but doesn't see himself as an idealistic rebel - on 23rd October he will be playing with his band in the Big Box

On 31st August Hubert von Goisern and his band played the last concert of their Linz Europe Tour West in Passau, a tour which took them to the North Sea and back again. After 12,000 kilometres on Europe's biggest waterways he returned on 1st September to his home port of Linz. But the 55 year old musician does not seem to be tired and is now touring on land. Ahead of his concert on 23rd October in Big Box he talked to Stefan Nowicki about the tour and his plans.

Mr von Goisern, in relation to your great European tour in connection with the EU expansion, you said: it is vital to rediscover each other." Have your expectations been met?

Certainly for me personally. We travelled eastern Europe for two months, in countries with which most people are not familiar, like Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine.

You now have dry land beneath your feet again. Are you longing to return to the ship?

No, I'm realistic in that respect. I know that it's over. Including the preparatory period this project monopolised me for four years and so I'm ending it with a tear in my eye, but also with relief.

You cross borders not just with the ship, but also with your personal musical style, the crossover of alpine folk music and rock and pop. Do you see yourself as a kind of musical rebel?

No, I don't think so. I am perhaps aggravating from time to time, I can rebel against one thing or the other and act out, but I'm not someone who runs around with idealism, flag in hand.

On your current album S'nix you show yourself to be rockier and louder than in a long time. Is that a reversion?

No. It's more of a step forward and a taking on of the situation. When I put the band together two years ago I knew that I would almost exclusively be playing open airs. In that case you have to play against disruptive influences and so we're louder.

You're now on tour with the album and are coming to Kempten. What motivates you to take on what must be an arduous nomadic life?

That we're now doing a hall tour lies in the fact that for two years we've almost only paid out money. We knew before we started that we would have to invest an amount, but then the limits were really pushed. We came away with a financial black eye. So what we're doing now is for ourselves.

The tour ends in November. What comes then?

Then comes the winter, hopefully with lots of snow and the opportunity to go skiing. I hope I can withdraw a bit. I want to write a book about what I have experienced in these past years.

Linz is next year's Capital of Culture. Do you already have concrete plans for more projects?

No. In April the tour with the current programme will carry on, but I really want to bring the thing to a close at the end of the summer. Perhaps in winter, if I can listen in to myself, new ideas will come and the energy to tackle one or the other of them.

Thanks Gaby

"I think this world and life are really, really wonderful"

Stuttgarter Zeitung 11th October 2008 | Text: Michael Werner | Photo: dpa

From the mountain onto the ship into the tourbus: After six years Hubert von Goisern has made an album of his own songs again and with it is going on the road

Hubert von Goisern

First of all he travelled. Then he reinvented alpine folk music. Now Hubert von Goisern cries out on stage or caresses the instruments so affectionately that you begin to dream.

Late summer on the concert ship in Nuremberg: "We'll sit at the bow", says Hubert von Goisern, "You need a life jacket, that's how it is in Bavaria." They make you sweat a lot. The musician doesn't take one himself. He wants to allow "a bit of piracy", he says. He is now 55 years old and for two summers has explored the Danube and its connected rivers, given concerts on the banks with local bands, looked for encounters as much as himself. In the Ukraine he captured whole villages where concerts had never taken place before with the magic of rock music globalised by regions. But he was a pirate even when he was young. The band master of the brass band in Bad Goisern didn't like his long hair. "There were arguments, I offended the band leader and he threw me out." That was back in the day when Hubert Achleitner hadn't yet thought to take his hometown in the Salzkammergut as his surname. "That was the time when everything crumbled."

Hubert von Goisern was in his early twenties and went to South Africa with his girlfriend. He stayed there for three and a half years, worked as a chemistry laboratory assistant, "as much as was necessary to keep from being laid off". He couldn't take the racial segregation and came back. He fell in love with a Canadian tourist in the neighbouring town of Bad Ischl, married, went to Canada, where he sold skis and worked for six months as a representative for office filing systems. Played music "only for myself". Returned, was in his mid-twenties, "old enough that I can do what I want". He then said to his wife that he was thinking of becoming a musician. "That was the end of the relationship."

Hubert von Goisern then went off for the third time, this time to the Philippines and "fell for it". Six months he spent just learning to play the nose flute. Then he decided to look for the origins of his own music at home. "That was yodelling." But first of all he worked at the salt mines in Bad Ischl.

Late summer on the concert ship in Nuremberg: a cyclist along the Rhine Main Danube Canal calls out, "Hello, Hubert!" to the ship. "Hello!" calls back the man who at the age of five wanted to be a conductor and at the age of thirty had decided to live from that moment on from his music and to try this for ten years at any cost. For long-term things you can only have one plan, otherwise you won't take it seriously," he says now, as four ducks land in the water right in front of the bow. "No, don't land here," calls the musician, "no, that's more beings that we're scaring!" That's the soft family man who has two children with his wife and on his new album S'Nix sings with unbelievable feeling about how love wants more every day.

The raw Hubert von Goisern sings: "I don't ever want to sing, I want to shout!" and in the song Showtime his voice masterfully saws rock 'n' roll into pieces with sheer energy. "It's cool to let it all out and to feel that it doesn't hurt you", he says. Loud singing (and not for example the cheering audience) is something he misses in the two or three year long breaks he sometimes has between the individual CD and tour projects. Then he "does everything there is to do: travelling, reading, composing, going up the mountains or looking for mushrooms, visiting friends, I like to cook and mend lots of things on the house. But no singing: not even at home. Because then they come and lock you up. You can't even sing in the forest. There are people everywhere there too and then they shoot you."

When Goisern had returned from the Filipino nose flute players in 1983, back to the Salzkammergut, he rammed the elemental force which he finds today when singing into an accordion. "It was breaking a taboo," he knew, because he was at odds with the preservers of customs and wanted to damage the saturated variety of folk music until the only thing that remained was what fascinated him: the whole depth that really gets you by the balls." The bellows of his first accordion were ripped within two months, "I strangled it".

At the start not all too many people recognised that a world-traveller who had returned home had invented a new genre almost on his own, which was later ploughed by numerous comrades in arms under the categories of "new folk music" and "alpine world music". Hubert von Goisern moved to Vienna, founded the Alpinkatzen with Wolfgang Staribacher and played sometimes to just five people. The first album, Alpine Lawine (1988), flopped. The second, Aufgeigen stått Niederschießen (1992), opened the door to success for the man now in his forties with wonderfully yearning songs like Heast as nit and Weit weit weg and the catchy hit Koa Hiatamadl. Suddenly Hubert von Goisern was a star, to whom people called "hello".

The singer can still find pleasure in the attention. And he has learned how to escape: his father, a hairdresser who worked in the factory, told him stories "about the Indians, who - where there were no bushes or rocks - can make themselves invisible in the veld. That really fascinated me." He acknowledges he can use the Indians' trick - but it costs energy.

Hubert von Goisern has made an art of escaping effectively. When more alpine pop records were expected of him he started travelling again, to Tibet and to the Dalai Lama in India, in order to get permission to rework old Tibetan songs. The record was called Inexil. He transformed an invitation from the chimpanzee research scientist Jane Goodall to go to East Africa into the Gombe album. "I feel secure in the world", he says, "When you go about with an open heart, you find other people with open hearts."

Six years stage abstinence then alpine pop again in 2000, now masterfully imbued with the wide world. And finally the great importer of foreign sounds thought of the old folk songs of his homeland. He called the two albums Trad and took them travelling again, to the desert festival in Timbuktu, to Burkina Faso, to Egypt: "When I do something like that I go beyond the borders and take something with me - my music, my zest for life."

A few years ago Hubert von Goisern set his mind on travelling the Danube with a concert ship. In 2007 he filled eastern Europe with sound, this year the west followed. He was euphoric and in between the two river journeys he recorded S'Nix, his hitherto most intensive, densest, simply best album. The songs, fired up by his new young band, exploded furiously this summer.

As the summer draws to a close he sits on the bow before the last concert and says: "The joy that it has happened outweighs anything else. As does the fact that I can now let go of the whole thing and see what else there is in the world." He says that he won't organise travel projects himself any more. He says his wife doesn't believe him. He's now going on an autumn tour with the nightliner. In the clever new song Herschauen he will offer up a relaxed, fanciful way of travelling: "suddenly everything only works out when I am there where I think, because that is where i come up with something." Then taking a breather is on the cards for the man who can travel everywhere with trumpeting tenderness, who can compress time with his unconventionally squeezed accordion and whose lyrics allow an illuminative perspective on existence. "Just don't make any plans now," he swore to himself, "because otherwise nothing can happen." Now the sun is low: "When I look at that I think this world and life are really, really wonderful."

At the beginning of September the ship was gutted. It will be used to transport gravel again. On that day Goisern jumped into the Danube a final time. "Sending a few tears to the Black Sea," he wrote. A month later came the elections in Austria. Afterwards he wrote that he was very sad, but nevertheless wasn't giving any thought to emigrating. He isn't one to give up. When he was ill early in the summer and had to cancel a concert for the first time in his life, he thought: "I've turned round just before getting to the peak of a mountain before. And I've still gone back up mountains again." He has the ability carry his listeners to the peak. Not just with his music. With his desire too.