On Tour with Black Sea Dahu: A Day Spent in Basel
tour diary

Touring is, in many ways, the music equivalent of extreme sports.

As a touring musician you are constantly forced to push your body and mind to its limits. You’re  traveling ceaselessly, enduring sleepless nights, nourishing yourself with gas station food (or whatever else you find on the fly) and figuring out how to deal with the incessant waiting around and the extreme spikes and drops in adrenaline. Plus, you’re pretty much constantly confined to a small space (a plane seat, a hotel room, a lobby, a backstage etc.) and forced to be around people 24-7. There are, of course, personalities that love this insane, yet regimented lifestyle. And to be fair this lifestyle also comes with some nice perks: you get to party a lot, meet tons of new people and see places that you might have never had the opportunity to see otherwise.

I’m not really sure how Janine, the singer, songwriter and band leader of the formation Black Sea Dahu really feels about touring, but from what I gleamed from her Facebook feed, she seems to be having a lot of fun! Black Sea Dahu pretty much exploded this past summer with the release of their first single, a crushing and beautiful love song called “In Case I Fall For You.” Since then, Janine and co. released a stunning full length entitled White Creatures — bound to be a genre classic very soon — and have been on the road ever since. We contacted Janine and asked her to give us a glimpse into what it’s like to be on the road. When we caught up with her she was in Basel, a charming Swiss city located in the North West.

12 hours before the show
We had breakfast with our host and talked about trivialities. I went to bed lade last night and got up before everyone else to answer emails, take care of social media stuff and make calls. That’s why I’m still tired and in a silly mood, joking around outside in the garden. Paul captures the moment of my very overstated posing.

9h before the show
I’m doing an interview and live session at Radio X, a local radio station of the city we’re playing in tonight. It’s just promotion for the show but I’m pleasantly surprised the interviewer takes her time to have a relaxed conversation. Afterwards I use their Wifi to answer a large amount of emails and I don’t think of tonight’s concert at all, there are so many other things I should take care of…

1h before the show
We’re setting up and doing soundcheck. Tonight we’re playing as a support act for Tobias Carshey. Normally we work with the local sound engineer, but today we’ve got our own and I’m glad he’s here. He knows our songs and I won’t have to explain the sound image we want to achieve live. I am hungry and usually this is the moment when we entangle ourselves in unnecessary and difficult discussions about stupid details.

Later on we’re eating dinner and waiting backstage, everyone sitting on sofas or laying on the floor and Vera is reading a crime novel out loud to kill time.

15min after the show
We played the last song, took a bow in front of the audience and packed up all our stuff within no time. As a support band you have to be super fast clearing the stage and we’ve gotten very effective with that. Paul and Vera go to sell records right away and the rest of the band joins them 15 minutes later. Now we’re signing vinyls and CDs while the headliner band goes on stage.

3h after the show
We arrived at the rehearsal room and unloaded the car. At this point we’re all tired, but no one is sneaking off or being lazy as this is still part of the job, part of the show. We’re joking around and wondering when we’re gonna play next? We’ve been on tour for four days but now everyone returns to everyday life for 10 days. Before we say goodbye we always take a photo and we always stand in the same order. That way, when we look at the photos in a few months, they all blur into one and the same night, one dizzy adventure.

photo by: Paul Märki