An Interview with Alexander Hacke & Danielle de Picciotto of Hackedepicciotto

Images courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media

Recently, we caught up with indie duo Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto of Hackedepicciotto. Among other things, we touch on what they’ve been up to during the pandemic, their career, influences, newest music, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Hackedepicciotto, the link to their Bandcamp page is here. Once you’ve checked that out, dig into this interview with Alexander, and Danielle. Cheers.

Andrew:
Alexander and Danielle, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Danielle:
We have been in Berlin since the beginning of the pandemic stuck in our studios, which is not a bad thing. It is nice to be able to work on projects in peace. We do miss performing but hope that it will be possible again next year.

Alexander:
Right now, the most important thing is to act responsibly, while the art is obviously not to be annoyed by those who don’t.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music

Danielle:
I started playing the piano at five years and would play and sing Edith Piaf songs very loudly in front of an open window hoping somebody would discover me. At ten, I started learning the violin. My musical upbringing was classical music from which I tried liberating myself in my early twenties by playing in rock bands. In the meantime, I am happy to be in both worlds.

Alexander:
After being obsessed with sound and music all the way through my childhood, at fifteen I cleared my locker at school and decided to never return in order to become a musician. So, that’s what I have been doing ever since.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Danielle:
My first major influence was Ennio Morricone. My second was Korean choirs. My father was stationed in Korea as an oral surgeon in the US Army in an orphanage and sent me a couple of albums. I thought they were amazing in every way.

Alexander:
Suicide, The Ramones, Throbbing Gristle, and Fear.

Images courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events. Tell us about your new album, The Silver Threshold.

Danielle:
I am very happy with the way how we managed to combine our different skills on this album. It has beautiful classical elements, wonderfully rough sounds, madcap percussions, and weird electronics. Everything I love. We had a lot of fun.

Alexander:
As many of our life’s circumstances changed drastically, we were reduced to our creativity, which helped us to focus and prioritize. That’s why I’d say that The Silver Threshold is our most refined effort to date.

Andrew:
What lyrical themes are you exploring with your new music?

Danielle:
I feel as if we are living in very biblical times — pandemics, apocalypse, internal strife, war, etc. These impressions slip into my lyrics because I always try to keep them universal. With the lyrics in “Evermore,” I try to express how we are all standing in a storm, and the only thing that can give us protection, and security is love and friendship.

Alexander:
What we do is basically energy work, so not only the music but also the lyrical content is supposed to have an empowering effect on the listener.

Andrew:
How about the production side of things? Do you self-produce, or do you bring in outside voices?

Alexander:
Hackedepicciotto is based on the interaction of the two of us. Very rarely a very good friend makes an appearance, like Vincent Signorelli on The Current, or Eric Hubel on our second meditation soundtrack album, Joy. The Silver Threshold is actually the first of our albums where both recordings, and mix were engineered not by me. We worked again with Victor van Vugt, who had already done the mixes for The Current. It is a great luxury not to be responsible for technical things, and administration, and to be able to concentrate solely on creating the content.

Danielle:
Yes, it was great having Victor. He is a wonderful person to be in the studio with. Usually, we self-produce on our travels, and it was really nice to be able to have someone recording us instead of doing all the technical stuff ourselves. It gave us a chance to purely concentrate on composing, and I do think that this really affected the result.

Images courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? What are a few of your favorite albums, and why?

Danielle:
Personally, I am all digital. We have been living as nomads for almost ten years, and I have learned to keep my luggage light, and I do not have the urge to own a lot of objects. It is better for our environment. 

Alexander:
Back in the day, I was all about cassettes. I never owned much vinyl, but I managed to keep a few precious records over the years nevertheless. Now friends give me their releases in beautiful vinyl versions, which I appreciate, so they keep stacking up. When we started moving about, I got rid of the thousands of CDs I had accumulated over the years and digitalized what I wanted to keep. We don’t stream, we boycott Spotify and consorts. If I like something, I’ll buy a download of it.

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Danielle:
My passion is the mystery of our earth, nature, sustainability, and how it influences us. This definitely plays into almost all of our songs.

Alexander:
I study mysticism, hermetics, spiritual philosophy. It figures, I suppose.

Images courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Danielle:
It has always been difficult for artists and that is not necessarily bad. It is a natural selection process of testing you to your limits. Personally, I think art and music need to be intense. It has a responsibility, it is the soul of humans. If it would disappear, I honestly think mankind would disappear as well. But I do not like the way everything is being commercialized. I do not think artists and musicians should have “day jobs” to be able to survive. Being a musician is a full-time job, just as any other. I think their input should be appreciated more. 

Alexander:
We have to remind ourselves of the necessity of solidarity — support what you love, support each other, and try to overcome the capitalist dogma of mandatory expansion. It’s really not that hard, we could all live comfortably and securely if it wasn’t for the competition thrust on our communities by the corporations, and regimes.

Andrew:
Last one. We seem to be nearing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. That said, what’s next on your docket? What are you looking forward to most in the pos-COVID world?

Danielle:
At the moment, a new mutant has arrived, and it looks like COVID will never disappear. It is really depressing but as artists, we have always had to be flexible, so it’s not really a new situation. We have never had any kind of security. We just play with what comes our way. Let’s hope it is something more positive than a pandemic.

Alexander:
Nothing will be the way it was before, that’s also a good thing. Embrace change!

Images courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media

Interested in learning more about the world of Hackedepicciotto? Hit the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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