“It’s profitable, and that’s a privilege”
The duo Lo & Leduc created “079”, the most successful pop song in Swiss music history to date. It has more than 3.5 million plays and was at the top of the Swiss charts for weeks. Nevertheless, Lo alias Lorenz Häberli needs his office job.
Of course he is one. But he doesn’t like the word “star”. Lo from Lo & Leduc, also known as Lorenz Häberli, prefers to call himself a “musician”. Even when it comes to the problems that such a star-musician can experience when one of his songs conquers a country, the school playgrounds, the public pools, club meetings. “On the street people I don’t know feel like they know me. They expect closeness, but this closeness has nothing to do with me.” Häberli says this apologetically. He is talking about the “imbalance” in the relationship between the “musicians” and their fans. And about how that gives him a bad feeling. “You have a certain amount of social energy per day. At some point it gets exhausted. Then you become taciturn.”
It’s easier for him at the office. There he is not Lo, but “Lorenz who works here”, and that’s how it should remain. Häberli works in the field of corporate communications, in other words PR; he edits communiques, manages websites, writes blog posts. ”Everything is sector-specific.” He’s in the media industry, but Häberli does not want to reveal his employer. The reason is that Lorenz doesn’t want to be bothered by Lo.
It all began a little over ten years ago; Lorenz Häberli and his current partner Luc Oggier played in a high school band. Then came dialect rap. And the decisive idea of adding something else to their rap: a musicality influenced by Caribbean, African and South American music. Häberli and his companion Oggier continued their advance into the radio pop universe. And then this spring, they released their catchy tune, “079”, that has broken all the Swiss charts records.
Pop is a fickle business. But currently Häberli & Oggier are able to live off Lo & Leduc. “Very well, actually,” says Häberli. With his 70 percent workload he earns around four thousand Swiss francs a month in the office. “That’s enough for everything I need for myself.” That’s three and a half days in the office. The other days are dedicated to music. The earnings from making music can be added to what he makes from his office job. This won’t make him rich. “But it’s profitable. And that’s a privilege.”
The question is, why does Lorenz Häberli still need his office job? He’s 32 years old now. But he doesn’t want to have to stand on festival stages when he’s 50 and might have a bad back or to run out of ideas for new songs. “Years ago, Luc and I decided that we always wanted to do something else alongside making music.” In addition, there’s the orderliness that the office brings into a musician’s life. “If a significant part of the week is already structured, then I can structure the rest of the time more easily.” This results in the routine and concentration that Häberli needs to write his songs. And finally: It’s about the same stuff, whether it’s pop or PR – language. So it’s about “why and how I say what I say”. Häberli says that what interests him in music is the opportunity of working with language.
It is said that there are people who still don’t have “079” stuck in their heads. But you don’t have to like the song in order to notice the clever way in which a story is told during it. So someone falls in love with a voice on the information telephone line and ends up getting hit by a tram while talking on the phone – not even three and a half minutes, but an entire drama. And, according to the NZZ, “Every line is an aphorism”.