Joasihno: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: Dreamy ambient post-rock electronica.
File next to: Kraftwerk, Tortoise, Caribou, The Notwist.
Playing: WL #750, Sunday March 18 @ Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar. Get your tickets here!

Joasihno sounds like the music made by the proverbial machines of loving grace, at some point long after the technological singularity. Unlike today’s awkward AI art, the Munich music machine whirrs along in smooth synchronicity, a perfectly hypnotizing sound that recalls the swooniest moments of their fellow Germans Kraftwerk as well as much of the Morr Music catalogue. The humans behind Joasihno are named Cico Beck and Nico Sierig, their pedigree includes post-rock/indie-pop heroes the Notwist and Aloa Input, and the duo is on their way to Wavelength to play our 750th show this Sunday at the Gladstone, after a detour to play at SXSW in Austin. Wavelength’s Jonny Dovercourt connected with Cico over the computer.

Hallo! Who is Joasihno and how did you come to be performing music together?

We met about eight years ago in Munich and played together in several other bands. We liked each other very much so at one point I asked Nico to be part of my (until then “solo”) project Joasihno.

You’ve gone through a few evolutions over your near-decade-long discography, from 2009’s dreamy post-rock on your first EP, to a more guitar-driven sound (with vocals!) on 2013’s A Lie, to your current incarnation as a more minimalist “psychedelic music machine” on 2016’s Meshes. What has been the inspiration or impetus for each metamorphosis?

I personally have the feeling that with our latest record Meshes, we came back to where we started with our first EP papierTonnenTigerTum and we just had a intermezzo with more pop/indie songs. Joasihno is mostly about strange, warm, instrumental electro-acoustic music.

Meshes makes use of homemade synthesizers and other instruments. How did you get into this particular line of tinkering?

We’re both very interested in finding sounds and especially like lo-fi stuff a lot. The Yamaha VSS-30 Sampling Keyboard for example is a endless source of great sounds. Though playing with contrast (like cold-digital stuff) is also very interesting for us.


What’s your connection/involvement with the German post-rock/indie-pop band The Notwist? I believe you also feature members of Aloa Input, so please tell us a bit about them for those who are unfamilar!

I got to know the guys from Notwist at a concert they played as 13&God (Themselves+Notwist) in Hamburg. With Joasihno, we played as an opening act and we talked a lot on this evening and became friends. Since then we made a lot of music together as we share the same taste about sounds and moods. I’ve been part of the Notwist since 2014 as well. Aloa Input is a experimental pop band from Munich playing around with weird sounds and uncommon structures. Nico (from Joasihno) is also involved in Aloa Input as a sound engineer – so all the bands pretty much come out of the same scene in Munich, which is currently very nice and interesting. Alien Transistor Label, Schamoni Records, GutFelling Records, Trikont Records are all four very nice labels based in Munich.

Tell us a bit about the German music scene these days. Which cities are the most supportive? Are there rivalries between towns? How does making creative music in Germany compare with other countries?

Actually the music scene is pretty good in Germany… there are many bands making music and touring a lot. Munich is unfortunately a little complicated for bands since it’s very hard to find space cause of the high rents, but there are many people working at a very engaged level on the subcultural scene. Actually — besides the typical stereotypes (hipsters, snobby, arty, rich…) — there are no rivalries between the cities.

You’re “crossing the pond” to play at South by Southwest in Austin TX as well as a couple of select Canadian dates, including Wavelength in Toronto! Have you performed in North America before? What’s exciting you the most about the tour?

With Joasihno, it’s our first time in North America and we’re really looking forward to it. We’ve built a tiny battery-driven version of our set-up to make a lot of street music during SXSW — I think this is going to be pretty exciting.