May 2003
interview by Ian C Stewart

Former memebers of Madrigal and Operating Strategies came together to form the German duo Cinnamonia in 1999. Sandra Werner (vocals) and Thomas Köhler (electronics) create "a pulsating, lively music that combines floating pop melodies with moods of melancholic beauty." It says here. Further comparisons to David Sylvian, This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins abound.

The music in their songs is developed before the lyrics. Köhler explains "I'm very interested in sounds - sounds for their own sake. So normally I create a sound concept which slowly develops into a basic song structure, which I then play to Sandra who develops the lyrics and the vocal line. We try to translate the atmosphere or the meaning of that particular song into our own context. There is no point in imitating a traditional style. I am not influenced by a particular style or artist, but by any music that shows sincerity and originality. As a writer, I am trying to develop music from very simple basic patterns or melody lines, exploring the possibilities of the material as far as I can." Werner continues, "The lyrics always reflect the atmosphere of the music. At first, only abstract fragments come up, and then sometimes a little story emerges. In addition, as we both are interested in traditional music, from time to time we do an interpretation of a folk song. Our music is a kind of meeting point of our musical interests, and over the years I discovered that our music gives me the best possibilities to explore and unfold the different facets of my voice, and that is much more important."

The band's interest in the non-traditional certainly extends to their unique choice of name. "Originally we wanted to name the band Cinnamon, because I'm kind of addicted to cinnamon. It is dark, warm, and has a pleasant, atmospheric scent, which nicely corresponds to our music. But we soon found out that there were already several bands called Cinnamon, so that was out of the question. Then we started playing around with the word and finally came up with Cinnamonia," Werner recalls.

This adherence to originality hasn't done them any favors locally, as Sandra recounts. "We have only played a few minor gigs so far, as we're looking for musicians before embarking on greater plans. We try to get some response from the local music scene, but here in Hanover the scene is almost exclusively mainstream rock-oriented, and we do not fit into this scheme. Naturally, it is our general aim to widen our audience. We will definitely play more live gigs in the course of the year."

Köhler concludes, "Apart from that, we are currently working on various tracks for Desvelos by the Italian poet and singer Sal Pichireddu. Desvelos will be a coming-together of several musicians from the German experimental-progressive scene. Sal's poetry and voice are very thoughtful and touching, and it is a great honor and pleasure to work with him. Most likely, Sal will also contribute as a singer and lyricist to the next Cinnamonia album."

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