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Third time’s the charm for Mother’s Cake

Jan Haußels is an accidental musician. The drummer for acclaimed Austrian rock band Mother’s Cake never planned to make a living wage from music, and he stumbled into his current life almost entirely by accident.

He’s not someone who spent his childhood singing into a hairbrush in the mirror, and as a result views his life with a particular kind of humbled surprise. “I was studying,” Haußels says. “I started out studying something because I didn’t know what to do. I chose a place that was beautiful and where you could do a lot of sports. I didn’t choose it because of the university itself.”
 
Haußels’ university pick rapidly proved fortuitous. It was while studying that he met the eventual bassist for Mother’s Cake, Benedikt Trenkwalder, introduced to him via Trenkwalder’s brother, and before too long the pair were making music together, eventually joined by frontman Yves Krismer. “I hadn’t even played drums for long,” Haußels says. “I had only played for two years before I met them, and I just played AC/DC and stuff. We all started jamming … and then we went, ‘We should start doing more, we should go up onstage.’ It took two years for us before it turned into a profession.
 
“That’s when I cancelled my other studies,” Haußels says. “My biology studies. I wasn’t intelligent enough to do rock‘n’roll during the night and then still hit the scores for tests during the day. My grades got worse and worse.”
 
The world lost itself a biologist and gained a drummer – and a fine one at that. Haußels’ powerful, heavy metal-inspired style is apparent on all of the tracks Mother’s Cake have released, but particularly their lauded single The Killer. The song, a mishmash of cock rock and power pop tropes is held together by Haußels’ work, and his drumming stops the piece from ever slipping off into pure, over-the-top extremity.
 
But Haußels is too modest to take much praise in this respect. For him, playing music isn’t a way to elicit international attention or to boost his own ego – it’s simply the only thing that has ever managed to truly sustain him. “Music is the only thing I am able to do 14 hours a day,” he says. “It is the only thing where I don’t have to force myself to get things going.
 
“That was the thing that was always hard with everything else in my life, whether it was school or university. I always had to force myself, or make to-do lists. But with music I did three hours in a rehearsal room, then the boys would come in and do two hours, and then I’d get up the next day and do it again.”
 
Not that it’s always been necessarily easy, mind you. The path the band has taken over the eight years since their inception has been a twisted one, forcing them to overcome a range of hurdles both self-inflicted and external. “We’re doing the third record now, and it’s the one I’m most proud of,” Haußels says.
 
 “The first record is easy to do. You don’t even really know you’re a band yet and you end up with ten songs. And you know, there’s no critique. Then you do the second record and the second record is tricky. It’s the first time you have the sense that there is expectation. And in our case we also set ourselves a deadline, which was pretty strict. It pushed us, and made stress. It’s the first time that you experience how fame changes how you play together, and how you write songs together.
 
“But with the third we took all we had learnt from the first and the second and made a record that from the start to the end always felt good,” he continues. “There was the right respect in the band. It’s not easy in the beginning to always understand why someone wants to change something or delete something. But by the third we got used to that.”
 
By Joseph Earp

Mother’s Cake will launch their third album No Rhyme No Reason at the Evelyn Hotel on Friday February 17.