Wanda with the album “Wanda”: “The hype about us was somehow a false promise”

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It’s been eight years since Wanda released their first album “Amore”. At one point, the Austrians also convinced the German public of their qualities with a lot of Viennese humor and hits like “Bussi Baby” and “My Two Sisters”. Now the band around frontman Michael Marco Fitzhum aka Marco Wanda celebrates its tenth anniversary and at the same time releases their fifth full-length under the catchy title “Wanda”. However, all of this is now overshadowed by the death of longtime keyboardist Christian Hummer, who passed away at the beginning of the week at the age of 32 after a long illness.

Marco Wanda and his bandmate Manuel Christoph Poppe spoke to ntv.de in mid-August about what it’s like to suddenly be sober on stage and what other insights the past two years have brought them.

ntv.de: It’s more common for bands to name their debut album after themselves. You only did that now with the fifth album. Does that have anything to do with the fact that this is the anniversary album?

Marco Wanda: There are many reasons. On the one hand that, on the other hand we see it as a small task for ourselves to find out after ten years what Wanda actually is for us. What should it be in the future? And there’s another anecdote: we have a fan, she once came to Munich for a meet & greet as part of the promotional tour for the latest album. All the album titles were tattooed on her arm. Always on a line, and the fifth line was still open. It was so short that we knew immediately afterwards that we could only choose one word or she would have had to write her whole arm around.

That’s very thoughtful of you. But couldn’t it have been “dog” or “car”?

Marco: Yes, or “sandwich”. (laughs)

So you thought a lot about yourself during the production of this album?

Marco: We’re still working on it. It just all went really fast. This hype about us was kind of a false promise. We were always told he would stop, but he didn’t. It felt like a single climb and at some point the speed became unbearable for everyone involved. The pandemic gave us a chance to really think for the first time. Sit down and ask yourself, how are the others doing? Is that according to our ideas? What should that look like in the future? Are you doing it forever, are you doing it for five years? Do you take a break et cetera.

What insights have you come to so far?

Marco: What I discovered is that I have an incredible desire to do it and an incredible desire to be on the podium. That’s all I’ve found out. I know that basically there are now only people who want it.

But this podium presentation of all things was what was missing during Corona.

Marco: That’s right, it wasn’t hard to find out it used to be great. To be honest, I didn’t always enjoy being on stage.

Was that because of the performance itself or because of the attributes, tour life in general?

That. This eternal balancing act between the road and private. I’ve struggled with that for years. Now I’ve sort of solved it for myself. It took me a while to enjoy the moment.

Wanda on RTL + Music


(Photo: Tim Bruning)

Discover the band’s music now on RTL+ Musik

Manuel Poppe: We were always scared closed. Before the pandemic, that was the first tour I played completely sober. Then you see the people.

Marco: I’ve never been drunk in any way. But lingered. Playing hangovers is worse than being active on fabrics. But to answer the first question as promotionally as possible: the title and the album are a gift to this audience that has been loyal to us for ten years. That the tickets for the replacement dates have not been returned throughout the pandemic. It’s a bow to the audience.

Were you afraid at the time that – now that you have finally discovered playing sober for yourself – you will not go back on stage like before?

Marco: Never really worry. We have a fantastic live crew who very quickly made it clear to us: “We’re here.” The first show we played after this long break was at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna. A benefit concert for the people suffering from the war in Ukraine. A big thing. Here too, this team has discontinued volunteer work. That’s when I realized how lucky we are. What wonderful people who, for the first time after a two year hiatus, are just standing in the stadium without any trace of rust, checking everything, making everything perfect so that we can play our show on this important, moving occasion.

While you can’t blame anyone in the event industry for looking for a new job during the pandemic…

Mark: Of course. It was tough for everyone. It also disabled some of them. We also lost a few people. They changed locations or something. But the people out there now really want it. That is a leap of faith that we have to redeem because we were difficult. It was not always easy to work with us.

On tour because of your condition?

We were five hangover maniacs. Working with them is difficult. We were like in a movie. I was blind to the sensitivities of everyone around me, I must say. At some point I woke up and now it’s very important to me how the others are doing. I think the dialogue has deepened.

What mainly caused this change?

Marco: For me it was a wake-up call that our drummer left. I didn’t understand that at first. I respected it and accepted it, but I didn’t understand it. But when someone tells me, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” my first question was, “Why?” But then I had to look for them, so to speak, from the next of kin. What’s wrong with us having one leave? Of course there are personal reasons, but something must have gone wrong. Too much pressure, too intense or whatever. These things dawned on me.

With your first drummer Valentin you have found a great replacement for your second drummer who left…

Marco: Yeah, we’re just lucky, aren’t we? I don’t know of a second example in music history where an old friend, a former founding member, seamlessly returns eight years later.

Manuel: Yes, with the Ramones. Marky Ramone left once, spent eight years in rehab, then came back.

Almost a reunion – like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. They were separated for 17 years and are seamlessly picking up where they left off. They are even married.

Marco: We’re kind of married to Vali now.

Has this new old constellation done something to the band structure again?

Marco: Yes, yes. The Vali is a very calm, neat, attentive, reflective person. That’s very good for us.

Manuel: The idea of ​​bringing a complete stranger on board after eight or nine years is frightening – for you personally, but also for any musician you don’t know who you need to get to know first. When a new, old musician comes along, where you trust each other, it’s very special.

Who approached whom?


Marco: It was his idea. It was as if he knocked on the door and asked if you could imagine that. I said, “We’ll see,” but inside I thought, “Sure, sure.” Just don’t get too excited. But actually the best now, the best yesterday. The rehearsals with him were like therapy. We always played five minutes of music and then spent hours telling him how the past five years had been. He listened patiently, it must have been very tiring.

Do you think your audience will feel the mental changes within the band on stage?

Marco: Somehow the family atmosphere behind the podium and in the whole team is transferred to the podium and the audience. Yes, I would say, that’s how it feels. The energy is completely different. It’s a very good vibe right now. But there is also a surprising amount from the audience. The first shows, the curtain falls and the question is what do you see now? After two years? What faces do you see? And all I see are smiling faces with eyes rolled up and hands in the air. Then it became clear to me that they were just as starving as we were. We really missed each other.

Nicole Ankelmann spoke to Wanda

The album “Wanda” will be released on September 30th.

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