Vera Jonas talks to Bernd Ihno Eilts for 60Minuten.net

The Groningen Report

Interview: Bernd Ihno Eilts                                                                                 Photography: Zoltan Acs

During the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS17) Festival in Groningen/The Netherlands, I had the great pleasure to talk with Vera Jonas from Hungary. She came with her band called Vera Jonas Experiment the long way from Budapest for playing three shows on ESNS17. Her music is best described as music from the soul and for the soul and the feet. Her style includes many ingredients, like singer-songwriting, indie, jazz, experimental, soul, funk and sweet melodies. Her latest album “Tiger, Now!” was released in April 2016. Her first show here in Groningen during ESNS was recorded by the german tv WDR for the legendary music show “Rockpalast”. Please enjoy a very special interview I had with her on a cold january 11th afternoon, just before her soundcheck in a location called The Artist Village.

Bernd: Great to see you here on ESNS17, here on the MS Princess, a hotel ship in the Artist Village. Which room number do you have?

Vera: 102.

Bernd: To be honest, I didn’t know you and your music. Here in the festival program you are listed as a jazz artist and I’m very much interested in Jazz and all its stories.

Vera: Really? As a jazz artist?

Bernd: What is jazzy about you?

Vera: I’m coming from a very jazzy background, but I don’t consider myself as a jazz artist at all (laughing). In my band everybody graduated from a jazz academy. The Academy of Music, the Jazz Department of Budapest in Hungary. I used to listen to a lot of Jazz, not so much these days, but I’m very aware of the Jazzscene. I like the history and the culture that comes from jazz and even before that and this all inspired me greatly. But the music, that has formed out of it today, what we play today, is not really related to jazz. Maybe just the fact, that it has chord changes that are not  typically to be find in pop songs. But even in pop music, we can find so many different colors, and this fits as one.

Bernd: You also have a jazz typical double bass in you band!

Vera: We have, but I don’t know, if this is jazzy in my band. You know, there are many double basses to find in many different musical genres. But we also use a bass guitar and a Moog synthesizer. It’s a big mixture. To be honest, it’s very difficult, to label music. When I see for example the Montreux Jazz Festival videos, I see they have bands from the Talking Heads to Lizz Wright to Jamiroquai and all kinds of genres. I really enjoy that, that they do not have all those boxes available anymore. Because I hate being put in boxes. I have at least five different genres in my head that I want to present in one gig.

Bernd: You also played in a group called Vera Jonas Pyjama Sessions. Please tell me more about your pyjama and its sessions!

Vera: Well, my pyjama right now is in my room number 102. It’s a very important asset of my being. I write a lot of music in pyjamas or like very comfortably clothes. And that band is a London based band. I used to live and study in London. That’s where the whole songwriting process and taking it seriously started. There I started putting songs together as in a set, and I thought I don’t want to name the band just my name. I wanted to call it Pyjama Sessions, but everybody said I should put my name next to it. Yeah, like this, it got lots of people’s attention and the whole idea of a pyjama feeling, which is a very important feeling for me. All the songs that I wrote and still write are coming from a very cozy circumstance. I don’t sit down and write. I do a lot of demos and I pick different styles and different lyrics. I collect words, I have notebooks and stuff. For me, it’s a very intimate situation. And I think, being in a pyjama is one of the most intimate environment, you can have. To wear that clothes, which no one can see, but very comfortable.

Bernd: It sounds like the moment where you can feel totally natural with yourself and it opens the gates for your creative writing.

Vera: Exactly.

Bernd: I saw you are a singer, a songwriter and also a dancer.

Vera: Ohhhh, where did you see that?

Bernd: Well, I saw it at least in one of your videos. I think, you have kind of special connection with dance, with modern ballet?

Vera: Ohhh, wow! You have a very good eye!

Bernd: Is that true?

Vera: Yes, I danced for many many years, very good! No one has ever spotted that!

Bernd: And we have the same friend on Facebook, Csilla.

Vera: Oh yes! I worked with her! She’s incredible. She’s also part of a theatre group called Artus (www.artus.hu), which I used to work with for one play. I think, that’s where we met.

Bernd: Please, tell me more about your dance background.

Vera: When I was a kid, I didn’t grow up to become a singer-songwriter. Even a musician. What was very effective and influenced me a lot, was the state of being on stage. Not really acting, that came later. That’s about becoming someone else and that’s not really my thing. I wasn’t really talented in acting, but the idea of delivering a message on stage got me. To affect people and influence them in some way, I wouldn’t use it as a power, but as a tool to get a message through. That really inspires me incredibly. It’s a weight in a way, it has a lot of responsibility, but with this I feel comfortable in taking it. Like in dance, many times I was in the first row and they pushed me a lot. But there was always something, that stopped me. It was a very important part of my life and on one point growing up as a teenager I couldn’t just put it away. When I became a teenager, I went deeper into art, like into books, films and plays. For a period of five or six years, I even wasn’t  performing, I was just sucking art out of the world. Then I realized this all much clearer. I went to university to study Social Sciences because I was very interested in people. Still I am today. I took part in lots of European Union sponsored programs like in the themes/fields of Antidiscrimination, Intolerance, World Peace and much more. I felt, like it’s great and I could be a real activist. Because I’m also a real active person.

Bernd: Like a dancer!

Vera: Yes, like a dancer! But I needed something else. Then music came very close and like this I got lucky in many ways. I had many good mentors and friends. They gave me that special push that I needed to step on a path and start working on it. I think, this is a very important part.

Bernd: You studied and graduated at the London Center of Contemporary Music School. Since then you perform a lot between London, Budapest and New York. What did you learn during your study the most and still use today?

Vera: It was a three year course and for two long years we studied everything. My major was singing and I started all things related to singing, like vocal techniques, style, arranging for a choir and a jazz band, for horns and for strings, writing music for movies or video clips or commercials. I really liked this group, because the main motto was, if you want to be a musician, you can become a rock star as well as many other things and live from music in many ways. If you are lucky and you have all in it, you can become all this, even a rock star for the rest of your life. But there are tons of million fields in music, where you can satisfy and fulfill your dreams as a musician. I really liked that approach, because I like writing lyrics for others and writing music for other projects, which is very inspiring. They pushed it greatly. We were working in a studio with producers and we were able to become a producer or arranger. In the third year we all choose, which field we wanted to aim at. Then I went to study some writing and that was tough. My songs don’t really fit in the straight line of pop and rock songwriting. The professional songwriter is often writing for a pitch. There is an obligation, there is a tender opening saying that there is this and this band and they want this specific kind of music in this style and this is their main theme. For example a break-up or a love affair, a party and so on. Then you have to write it according to very strict schedules and if they choose it, you can be happy, but if not, you carry on. So, it’s very tough and very demanding. Just tough in general. I could write some songs, that they like, but the majority of my songs almost failed. (Laughing). But just in general all this was super inspiring. When I started realizing, I was happy not to be fitting in this general path. When you feel, there is a line, when they say, you cross it, then you’re out. I just felt, I can not just not cross this line. And you even feel happy about this. I’m a very law-abiding person and I want to be good, want to do things good. Then it’s very liberating to realise, in some ways you just can’t fit in those special boxes and still feel good about it.

Bernd: Did you have special mentors in that period?

Vera: Absolutely. Professional songwriters were teaching us. The techniques they taught us I loved very much. They were very useful for myself. Like how to overcome your writers block, how to deal with all those things. You have to deal with a lot of emotions when you write songs. Even if it’s not for yourself, you still have to take a spoon and put it in your soul and take something else and put it in. The nature of the beast as an artist is not just “I love you, I hate you”. Somehow it needs to touch you, if you want to be satisfied. These tools were very useful for me to learn. Even just to be in London was a big thing, London is my love. I have a love affair with that city and it’s incredibly vibrant and different.

Bernd: You are doing many different things in your musically style, in your profession. You are a singer, a songwriter, you compose music and lyrics. In a way we can see you like a poet.

Vera: I don’t know. It’s a very high description for me, to call me a poet.

Bernd: But you create something. Not only the music, also the lyrics.

Vera: Yes, absolutely.

Bernd: Then you also create videos what makes you very busy! Like a dancer. When I realised you are a dancer I understood all better. A dancer has such a high energy.

Vera: It’s fine that you say this, because at the same time I love sleeping! I sleep incredible amounts of hours. But I do not smoke, even not drink. Well, sometimes I try a little bit of wine, but I’m really not an alcohol-party-person at all. If I party, I want to dance.

Bernd: How did you become the Vera Jonas Experiment, how did you become a really professional musician? You graduated in London and then?

Surprisingly the MS Princess Hotel Ship owners dog entered our conversation.

Vera: Okay, that was a bit tricky. Accidentally I created two bands, one in London and one in Budapest. In London it was more conscious, creating that band. At the same time the bass player of that band, he was a very old friend of mine and for some reason we started emailing each other’s songs and ideas. That evolved into playing a few concerts in a duo first, later we invited a percussionist. That was the moment, when we became the Vera Jonas Experiment. Because the music became so powerful and rocky, we changed from percussion towards drums. The guitar player in my band is another very old musical partner and it was no question to continue with him as well. When all this came together, it was just a line of events that fell into place. I was already living in London and I thought about maybe staying there. Then some nice venues invited us to play. To be a support for Theo Bleckmann (www.theobleckmann.com), maybe you’ve heard of him, he’s a great hero of mine. Then the TEDx asked us to play on their conference. Small things came together and like this, we suddenly had a band and opportunities.

Bernd: How did you become successful? Right now you are traveling, you tour really a lot.

Vera: I don’t know. Am I successful?

Bernd: In Hungary you are absolutely someone!

Vera: Yes, but I’m not a mainstream artist. Being inside this ship is not the same experience as looking at it from the outside. It has its ups and downs, it has a lot of work, a lot of insecurities, always these waves. I think, it’s probably the very deep desire to do something. That’s what we have. What I really appreciate in the band, they are supporting me incredibly. It’s very flattering I’m successful and so active, but I wouldn’t be able to do this without them. Their support as musicians is great! They are not even session guys. They are very deep hearted musical souls, they all have their own other bands and platforms. They always question, they always challenge me and that for me is very important to have. To have real partners in this band.

Bernd: How did you choose your band members?

Vera: I started writing the first songs with the bass player, his name is Andras Csizmas. The guitarist Marton Fenyvesi has also been a big help, he played for example in Pyjama Sessions in London often with me. He is still a very close musical creator to me. It’s him, who arranges most of the songs and very often he also co-writes with me. I have been a big fan of the drummer for years, his name is Hunor G. Szabo. I think, with him I started my carreer as a groupie. (Laughing). Then, at one point, when I felt we need a drummer, I asked him without any doubt.

And then Vera talked to the dog again, she told me, his name is Max. Please check the pictures! She told me, she’s a dog freak.

Vera: When I was arriving here on the ship and I saw him, I was just gone! Now, he is even posing for Zoltan! I want him!

Bernd: So, you described already the magic playing with your band. It seems, you are a very good team.

Vera: Yes, we are. I’m not trying to discard what you are saying. It’s just, I feel like there is a lot of pushing in being perfect today or being successful all the time and being 100 percent. I really feel, that reality and the realness of things is much more interesting and inspires me even more. Last year many incredible things happened. Even lots of very difficult stuff happened to us. All the time. As I see, we are growing and expanding and crossing boarders and at the same time we all have an incredible amount of challenges and work. We all keep this together. That is success for me by the way. To be able to balance that. If I was just successful with all the great things that happen, I wouldn’t be a fulfilled person.

Bernd: But, if I may say this, I can see a growing line. Since 2013 you steadily presented new CD’s. To me, this is a very strong gesture. You offer a CD, EP’s, a Single, you are constantly busy working on your path. And with this you offer something to the people, so they become more aware of you. Also you work in many different fields, what made me become interested to do this interview with you. Right now you live in Budapest. You are born there? Why do you still live there and not in London or New York?

Vera: I want to live everywhere. Even when we came here to Groningen, I was thinking it would be fun to live here. I could be cycling to the shops every day. I was already thinking about moving here (laughing). But I don’t plan these things. They kind of happen. I don’t think I will live my entire life in Budapest. I love the city, the city is so convenient in so many ways. The cultural level and value is incredibly high. Whenever someone comes to visit, I’m so proud I can offer at least five different very interesting cultural things, from Free Jazz to amazing classical music, to beautiful dance and contemporary plays. All kinds of things happen there at the same time. That happens everywhere, but Budapest is a small city. In London of course, there are 10.000 things happening at the same time. But there are 10 million people living there. And we have 2 million people, and still it’s happening. Hungary is a very challenging country in many ways. It’s not easy to live there, it’s not easy to face the differences of living. The country is very broad and it’s difficult, but at the moment right now it’s a very safe and cool place for me. And I’m ready and open for other places as well.

Bernd: How is the music scene in Budapest?

Vera: It’s vibrant as hell. I love going to live shows. I really like the experimental scene, it’s very interesting. Even with my music, I do not belong to a mainstream scene in Hungary at all. This music, that I present and do, I see in western Europe it’s considered to be more pop music and many radio stations play this kind of music. But in Hungary it’s completely underground. It’s just too contemporary. It’s edgy, it’s this and that, it’s not straight pop music.

Bernd: You sing even in English!

Vera: Yeah! The Hungarian music scene is very vibrant and I think between 2000 and 2010 lots of new underground bands came to the mainstream scene. But since 2010/2011 this more western sounding English speaking eventful music became alive. I appreciate and love this.

Bernd: In 2014 you released an album called „Game“ in Japan. In the video clip I saw you dancing. From that moment on I realized, you are also a dancer. You also performed and recorded with the San Francisco String Quartet. I saw a very nice video! Can you tell me a bit about that project?

Vera: It was just one short project. The story starts when I went to New York. The reason why I played in New York was because I was selected by One Beat Fellow (1beat.org). 1 beat is a program sponsored by the State Department of the United States, Hillary Clinton used to be the secretary of this department and she was responsible for the State Department. They did a program called 1 beat, which was a very interesting project. They choose 32 people from around the globe, from everywhere. There were only five of us from Europe. We were musicians from all kinds of genres and styles and backgrounds and instruments. Incredible people. We met in Florida. There we worked together for two weeks and then we toured the east coast together ending in New York. That was a really incredible project for me. I stayed in contact with the American Embassy in Budapest. Then they called me, saying, there is a street cello quartet, they are coming to visit Budapest, and they asked me to help organizing some concerts. They asked me a month before they came. I said: Well, it’s a bit short notice for me, but I will ask around. Then I realized, I had a free day and wanted to record something with them. Then this cooperation happened. I had a song, it was just finished, and they even inspired me to finish the song faster. My guitar player Marton wrote the arrangement for the strings. Then I called the Bartok Conservatory in Budapest, they offered a room, I called some friends who do some video and they came to help. It was really a very quick action to put these things together, almost improvised. We had a great time together and we made plans for something else in the future, and hopefully we will.

Bernd: You are also part of the Ferenc Snetberger Music Talent Center (www.snetbergerkozpont.hu/en). I saw recently a beautiful record of this Hungarian guitar player Ferenc Snetberger on ECM Records. He lives in Berlin and I would really love to talk to him in the future. Then I saw while doing my research for our talk, this Musical Talent Center is organised through him. Many Roma children are getting a musical education there. What is your connection with this music center?

Vera: The idea came from 1 beat as well, from this American program. Apart of touring and playing music they had this model called „The Street Studio“. This is a peacemaker model. I don’t know, if they are aware of it, but I think it’s an incredible informal peacemaker project. What they do, they go to the streets, they put out the laptop, speakers, instruments and some electronic devices and microphones and they invite people to join singing, playing, performing, rapping, tell a poem. They have a guitar and ask: you want to play two chords? We have instruments that make sounds, you want to play it? Then they collect all these sounds and record them on Ableton, a music computer program and it creates loops and then they do a studio session live. Everything that people add to the music is being played back directly. This creates a very special vibe. It doesn’t matter who wants to perform, everybody is welcome. It’s an instant adding of instruments and sound sources. People sometimes are mistaken and think, it is a jam, but it’s not. Sometimes they say, when they are tired, we invite people to become producers of a song. Like: we need a whistle, can you whistle? Please, whistle for me. Then I need a beat under it. Okay, can you play a beat?

It’s making music together without any boundaries pretty much. I think, it connects people, no matter, where they come from and I experienced it many times, it’s an instant connection maker. Then it also bring music very close to you, to all of us. I’ve often being told how lucky I am, because I’m connected to music and able to do it. I always say, I think, everybody can be connected like myself. Or anybody, who is into music. It is just in general in us, a given quality. Some people can play better, some play just two chords, but still we have the same level of connection. So, I thought, I should bring this project to Hungary. It’s called the Found Sound Nation (www.foundsoundnation.org).
Then I contacted the Snetberger Institute and they said yes. I think, Ferenc doesn’t know much about it. I met him once and I presented the idea to him, even he does not care much about electronic devices. He just plays on the guitar, the natural and pure way, on an incredible level. That’s the core of what he does. He is highly respected by his students. When I came with this idea and he was like: Okay, great, take my kids, stay at our institute, do whatever you want, I don’t care so much. (Laughing). That was very nice. Some of the students applied and we are still in contact, we toured with this project, we went to different cities and festivals in Hungary, and still sometimes we get invitations. It needs a lot of money constantly, but it works very well.

Then suddenly Vera asked her manager to bring us some water.

Bernd: Is this water from Hungary?

Vera: I’m not sure.

Then we took a short break for a photo session.
After that we toasted with water and wished each others a happy new year!

Bernd: I read something nice on the website of Found Sound Nation. “Music is a form of cultural diplomacy”.

Vera: It’s beautiful. I do agree with this 100 percent. For me, tolerance and understanding are very important. I face a lot of intolerance, lots of cultural problems.

Bernd: This time is very explosive.

Vera: Yes, today it is. I don’t believe in bringing tolerance with just saying things like: Be nice to foreigners! Today this is a very hot topic. I travel to many places, I’ve seen many different cultures, even when I go to have my holiday, I travel far, I like to go to crazy places in India. I love India. I’m crazy about the whole mess there. I realize, that tolerance does not work with just deciding to be tolerant. You need to have a human experience with it. You need to know somebody from that group of people, to understand what they are about. You cannot just read about someone and say: “Oh, they are this and that, hmmm. I like their accent, unless they come close and knock on my door”. It doesn’t work like that, you need to have a personal experience with them and I think, this is cultural diplomacy in music to play something together, to try something together, to create something together, to spend some time together doing something and having the same aim. Your aim is to create a song together, and when you do that, you forget all about where you’re coming from, what you think about differences in the world, who you vote for, who you pray for, then you forget about all these boundaries. Then you focus on that aim, which is common. I think, this can break lots of discrimination and loads of bad emotions, that are constantly available and active.

Bernd: When I talk with singers, I always get the idea, we are all humans here on earth and we all share air with each others. You as a singer, share the same air, where you perform, with the audience, and even all living creatures. And you create sounds, you create music. And people enjoy this.

Vera: I realize that. But I need those people too, to make it work. I like my pyjama songs that I write, they are very special to me. But these songs have a different life and an awesome journey, that they go through when they meet the audience. That makes the song different. A song evolves and changes and it pushes to become this and that and that’s another inspiration of form, to play something live in front of an audience. I always try to advertise on our shows, we are on this journey together. If they follow what I do, then they are also part of it. It’s not just a very catchy life, I really feel like it, it’s there, we create it all together.

Bernd: How is it for you to perform? In front of an audience?

Vera: I’m very happy when I’m on stage but I’m usually very scared. I feel nervous and sick.

Bernd: Why are you scared?

Vera: Well, I’m very nervous. But then, when I go on stage, people don’t see this. But I have terrible nightmares, lot’s of them. Going on stage, my guitar breaks, the strings break, the pedal doesn’t work, there is no sound, I have no voice, anything that could happen frightens me. I have a dream where I go on stage and there is a wall on the stage and I cannot get away from the wall, but it separates us from the audience. So, I have all these dreams.

Bernd: What do you do before a concert?

Vera: I like the preparation part and I like to be alone. If there is no make-up or any hair people to help, I like doing it myself. Then I cannot talk to people at all. I have to be silent and I like being alone then. Even if there are only 10 seconds, I just like to have that focus in that moment.

Bernd: And then you enter the stage and all is fine.

Vera: Yeah! Not always. Lots of things can happen. I’m comfortable on stage. For most of the people this is very scary, but not for me. It’s like: Now I can do things. Now is the time to do something.

Bernd: And then, when you sing and play your guitar, where are you then, what’s happening then inside of you? Do you enjoy the music, the audience?

Vera: It’s a ping-pong of thoughts in my head. Sometimes I’m really just in the music and let all go. But at the same time we play lot of complicated stuff, where I have to focus on what we are doing. Also when I’m cueing the band to make sure they know that I’m making a cue right now and they should listen right now and look at me. Usually when I don’t play the guitar it’s easier to let go. In the last show of the last year we had a very nice stage and there was a little extra stage element coming out and I was able to go really into the audience and they were surrounding me. I felt so much safety, even everybody is looking at you and all the focus is going towards you. For some reason that’s a sense of safety for me. It’s like I can grab everybody and say: Come closer! For me it’s a very powerful moment to experience.

Bernd: In these moments you are connected with the audience of course. Do you feel their mood, their expression?

Vera: Yeah! Of course. When you travel a lot and you play in different venues, you always face different audiences. Like sitting down, standing up, in a party mood, all drunk or not yet drunk, it’s always different. And to get into the mood, you cannot be stiff about it. You cannot say: This is the show we are doing, no matter what the audience is up to. We have to be flexible. For example tonight we have 45 minutes to play, even at each show here. We play in three different venues, two in the evening and one in the afternoon tomorrow in the record shop. We will have different shows, not completely, but we have to adjust to the venue and the people and we are going to see, which songs to play then and which songs not. And I like that. It’s a pop-rock band, but we have a sense of improvisation in it.

Bernd: That makes it all more jazzy!

Vera: Maybe! (Laughing).

Bernd: How did you get here on the Eurosonic?

Vera: We applied. To be honest, I don’t really know. Here are three Hungarian bands and first I thought there would be only one coming. Then it turned out, there are two and when I heard about that, I thought, we are not in. Then we received an email saying, we would like to invite you to come. And we were like: What? What happened? How did this happen and who actually invited us? I still don’t know the story behind it. Also the fact, we have to play three shows, I have no idea, how this happened. I think, there is a secret guardian angel somewhere, who picked us.

Bernd: The angels are very active here!

Vera: I think, someone picked us and I’m not sure if I know the person or not. All the other Hungarian bands only play one show. I just have no idea, how it happened.

Bernd: You brought all your instruments in the bus and you have to build up. You have a management helping you with all?

Vera: Yes. We have an incredible sound engineer who knows all the set-up.

Bernd: Just in general I want to ask, what is your music about?

Vera: It’s about everything and nothing. It’s very personal easy listening. The lyrics are about my personal experiences I have been through pretty much and what I learned from them. That’s my perception.

Bernd: What did you learn?

Vera: I learned, that love is much more powerful than anything else, ever. That’s very trivial but very true. I have been often up and down and even further down and further up and then falling again. I just realized that it is very hard to overcome pain and difficulties, but with love and consciousness you can. The other very strong thing in my mind is often perfectionism.

Bernd: The message of your music is about love?

Vera: And being real. It’s the trade, the slogan to be yourself. And be cool. But when it comes to the bottom of it, it’s fucking hard. It’s really hard to be yourself. I can not be myself, because I want to be five different persons at the same time. But the main point about this is: It’s okay. Even if you want to be five different persons at the same time. And it is okay, if you don’t know who you are. And it’s okay, if you don’t know, what you want. And if you don’t know where you want to go and where you want to be. That is love! Loving your choices, loving your not knowing. And I’m going through this fase right now, when I’m starting to press my not knowing and my uncertainties and not feel guilty about them so much. Lots of it is written in our songs, especially in this last album of ours, in „Tiger, Now!“ It’s about being a tiger.

Bernd: This is a very interesting aspect. Time and people are changing, the generations are changing and also their ideas about life. We had generations protesting a lot. You are standing strong for understanding, accepting and love.

Vera: Yes. I think, acceptance is very important.

Bernd: You don’t feel any protest in your work? For example against politics?

Vera: I’m not political but I’m very much into humanitarian activities. Today a lot of things are happening that are shadowing Europe and the world. And we still don’t know, where this all will bring us. There is a lot of hysteria about it, about the US elections, the new president, the Brexit, the refugee situation and its crisis, and it is all crazy and it’s blown up even more. I try not to see this all  as a catastrophy right now. There are lots of shitty politicians around and they always were. But then I think, there are also people who have some inner problems they did not solve, which is deeply connected and rooted in loving, not loving, not accepting, accepting and all that.

Bernd: You still can have a good time, right?

Vera: Yes! Absolutely. I’m pointing fingers often to people for what they do wrong. People who are far from me. The prime ministers, the politicians, the people with power, they do all this and that. But at the same time I feel, the only way to change what is happening right now is starting with myself. And starting within my small circle. It’s not at all complete, it’s not at all perfect. I can change the things that I write, I can put all the messages that I want and believe in. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone like this at all, that’s not my philosophy. My philosophy is about working on yourself as I’m working on myself. That is the key to change. And if someone gets it, then it’s great.

Bernd: Can you tell me, how you are in private?

Vera: I have for sure a private life. I love doing sports, I started doing wall climbing now and I’m very interested in that.

Bernd: You have to come to Groningen. We have the highest climbing tower of the world, man made. He is 37 meters high (121 feet) and resembles a streamer spiraling up into the air and is called Excalibur.

Vera: Oh my God!! Amazing! I’m not good at it but I really like it. I like cycling and hiking and I love traveling. Like I told you, I have been to India a couple of times, this time I’m going to Sri Lanka for three weeks, I’m gonna just go wild with it, without plans, no hotels, nothing like that.

Bernd: Meditating?

Vera: I try to meditate, I’m not really good at it. But just travelling and meeting local people, I enjoy myself doing this.

Bernd: Can we expect a new album in 2017?

Vera: Maybe. We have a live EP, a remix album will come out very soon and I’m working on stuff.

Bernd: Thank you very much Vera! What a blessing!

Vera: Thank you too! My pleasure!

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Vera Jonas by Zoltan Acs:

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