Jan Delay: Lockdown would have been “hell” without a driver’s license

Jan Delay
Lockdown would have been “hell” without a driver’s license

Jan Delay will release his new album “Earth, Wind & Celebrations” on May 21st.

© Thomas Leidig

Musician Jan Delay got his driver’s license last year. Without a driver’s license, the lockdown would have been “hell” for him.

Jan Delay (45, “Oh Jonny”) has had his driver’s license for a little over a year. His daughter, who was born in 2014, had expressed this wish. Now she is “proud” that he got his driver’s license, the musician told the news agency spot on news. In an interview, the 45-year-old also talks about his new album “Earth, Wind & Celebrations”, which will be released on May 21, and reveals how he deals with hate online.

The last album “Hammer & Michel” had to accept a lot of criticism. Why did you end up with funk and reggae again after your foray into rock with “Earth, Wind & Fiegen”?

Jan Delay: I had a need for it. That was just fun. I pulled through the rock album back then and received a beating for it. But that wasn’t a problem for me. I can’t ask everyone to like what I think is good. I especially enjoyed the beginner record, on which I rapped again. This also made me realize that the next Jan Delay album should sound more contemporary and programmed so that it can also play in the club. We didn’t want to put on a corset, because of only reggae, only funk, only rock. Everything we wanted should be there.

The song “Smile” is about the constant optimization mania. You should rather focus on what you have. When were there moments in your life when you became aware of this?

Delay: Since my daughter was born, I only have to look once and then everything is fine. Before she was there, there were also moments when you were in your favorite place in your city with your friends. Then nothing else matters either.

“Fun” is a song against anyone who spreads hatred. Unfortunately, social media is making this very out of hand. How do you deal with hate online, have you ever received hateful comments?

Delay: Yeah, sure. I think everyone who gets on a stage has to deal with the fact that people judge what you are doing. It was the same before social media. It’s just become a lot easier thanks to social media and the anonymity that goes with it. The current record has received surprisingly little criticism so far. It was completely different with the last album, which was preceded by the Heino story.

That was seven years ago, and I haven’t been on Facebook since. There were really real hateful comments, the lowest and most disgusting levels. At that time, even the AfD started a petition against me. That was a blow in the pit of the stomach. However, everything that I have experienced cannot be compared to when someone is racially insulted. Regardless of whether it’s online or on the street. That is something completely different. Getting offended and attacked for something, such as looking yourself, is much worse. For me it is only about a statement or something that I have created, for which I am then criticized. You have to delimit there.

“Back” is about the conflict between your home and work-related travel. How do you create a balance?

Delay: The song is about my daughter. The balance was actually great the whole time. Since she was born, she was used to me being away for a week and then at home for a week. Because of Corona, I was only at home for a whole year. It never happened before, she didn’t even know it. When the promo for the album started, I was only gone for two days and she was completely devastated. It used to be completely normal, and she wasn’t even interested in that. Now we have to make sure that we get them used to the fact that I am not always there.

Your daughter asked you to get her driver’s license. How proud is she that it worked out last year?

Delay: I think she was very proud that I did it. I failed once, because she motivated me and said: “Oh come on dad, that’s not bad, next time you can do it.” Then I did it too. I didn’t just get my driver’s license because of her, either. It was the crucial point in the end, but I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.

Fortunately, I also had time for it because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish the record by summer 2020 anyway. I was glad that it worked before Corona, because my girlfriend doesn’t have a driver’s license either. Without a driver’s license, the lockdown would have been hell. I was able to drive from the first day of lockdown and that was perfect for me on the empty streets.

What is the balance after a year of driving?

Delay: I only screwed up twice. Then there were two self-inflicted scratches when parking. I think everyone knows how to park by now. (laughs) But those were also stupid things that happen to you once and then you know. Once it was dark and once because I didn’t straighten the steering wheel, but took it out of gear. Then I hit a pillar. Otherwise everything has been going great in traffic so far.