The US pop star Anastacia and the Austrian winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, drag queen Conchita Wurst, were the very first guests of the DW's new show, Night Grooves. It was recorded at Haus Schminke, a New Architecture villa in Löbau, Saxony.
The people behind the magic
The entire team got together in the villa's living room to discuss details before the first rehearsal. A crew of 50 people is responsible for cameras, lighting, sound, set design, make-up and props.
The two German hosts, actress and singer Kim Fisher and comedian Wigald Boning, welcomed the audience in the Haus Schminke's living room – a very private and intimate setting.
The house band
The Berlin band Ruffcats, which calls itself the Germany's finest accompanying band for soul, funk, hip-hop and reggae, is set to back up every episode of the Night Grooves show since the guests never bring their own bands.
A matter of style
Wearing a garish ski jacket, Wigald Boning welcomed Anastacia to the private "Night Grooves" concert. The US star, who also works as a fashion designer, gave the amused German comedian some much-needed style advice.
The world premiere
Definately a highlight: Conchita Wurst and Anastacia singing a duet, Anastacia's 2000 hit song "I’m Outta Love" in a special, acoustic version.
A selfie with Anastacia
After the show, Anastacia spent time taking pictures with her fans and signing autographs. Some guests drove hundreds of kilometers to attend the exclusive DW concert. Indeed, it was a rare opportunity to get so close to such a megastar!
A down-to-earth icon
After the show and the autograph-and-selfie session in the Haus Schminke, Anastacia made herself available for interviews made up of questions posted by fans via DW social media accounts.
Questions for the living legend
"How do you prepare for a concert?" was just one of the many questions Conchita's fans ask on DW's Twitter and Facebook. The Austrian singer rehearsed the questions before recording them.
A selfie with the band
The last photo with the band before leaving the unique German venue. Anastacia had to set out again for her next concert right after recording the talk show — but she loved the Ruffcats, the "Night Grooves" house band.
DW launched a new talk-music show on November 3: Night Grooves. It starts off with a world premiere involving American pop singer Anastacia and Austrian drag queen singer Conchita.
The likes of Anastacia, Conchita, Johnny Logan, Helen Schneider, Avi Avital, Karat, Julia Hülsmann, Midge Ure, Simone Kermes, Eko Fresh and Albrecht Mayer are among the guests in DW's new weekly, 45-minute "Night Grooves" TV program, made in cooperation with broadcaster MDR.
Hosted by German singer Kim Fisher and comedian and musician Wigald Boning, two or three solo artists or bands get together in the Haus Schminke living room to chat and sing or play music together — and create unique moments while crossing cultural, musical and regional boundaries. Like the guests, the house band Ruffcats plays live and unplugged.
For some, it's a big honor — like Marlon Roudette, who was teamed up with the East German Rock band Silly. "It´s a big honor to be with you guys," Roudette said, adding that British musicians have a soft spot for bands that played in the former East Germany. "And because we know music played such an important role in bringing positivity and a message to the people," the British singer/songwriter said.
The venue: Haus Schminke in Löbau in the eastern German state of Saxony. The building was designed by Hans Scharoun - the architect who planned the Berlin Philharmonic. Built in 1933, it is iconic of the "New Building"-style, and draws architecture fans from all over the world.
Like the building, the new DW show stands for a cosmopolitan mindset. The intimate setting allows for special concerts and unique moments where pop meets jazz meets rap meets classical music.
The very first edition of the show features US pop star Anastacia and Conchita, the 2014 ESC winner from Austria. Their interpretation of Cher's "Believe" left the audience with goosebumps. "I feel like this show is more home, like we're at home, hanging out - there's just a bunch of other people with big cameras," Anastacia said.
"We open up," said Silly's Uwe Hassbecker, adding that the format allowed the band to do things they would normally never do in a TV show. "It's a really genial get-together."
An iconic (music) venue
Deutsche Welle's new music talk show "Night Grooves" takes place in one of the most iconic buildings in the world: Schminke House in Löbau, Saxony. The villa was designed by architect Hans Scharoun in the 1930s for the Schminke family, which was involved in factory industry. It is now recognized as one of four key representations of the "New Objectivity" architectural style worldwide.
The 'noodle steamer'
Fritz Schminke inherited a local pasta factory in Löbau from his father. When his house that he shared with his brother started to get too small for the growing families, Schminke commissioned Scharoun to build a new one in the factory garden. Due to its resemblance to a boat, the house is popularly known as the "noodle steamship."
The architect's favorite house
Architect Hans Scharoun was born in northern Germany, a region that never ceased to inspire him. In his work, he always strived for harmonious, lively and functional coexistence of people, buildings and nature. He spent weeks studying the habits of the Schminke family in order to make life in the house as comfortable as possible. Schminke House was the work closest to Scharoun's heart.
The novelty of a playroom
Since the family had four children, Scharoun also designed a large playroom in the center of the house, which was uncommon at the time. There was a special built-in blackboard in one of the walls and two window openings, through which the kids could slip outside. A curtain could be drawn when the children wanted to remain hidden, or when the parents wanted a little peace and quiet!
One sofa for everyone
Fritz Schminke wanted the villa to be "a modern house for two parents, four children and one or two occasional guests." The living room was, of course, its central meeting point. The sofa, as seen in the picture, was long enough for the whole family and several visitors. A replica of the original seen above sits in the living room today.
A special sunroom
Large sliding glass doors lead directly from the living room to the sunroom. Here, the holes and lights in the ceiling create a particularly interesting mood. The extra holes in the doors were made for children, and their colorful pattern can be found in the whole house.
One marriage, two beds
The parents' bedroom lies right above the sunroom. The different positions of the two beds may seem weird, but they only reflect the different preferences of each spouse: While Fritz Schminke liked to have a clear view of his factory's chimneys, Charlotte Schminke loved looking out at the garden and wanted to be awakened by the rising sun.
An optimized environment
The kitchen, which is situated at the far end of the house, is just as modern as the rest of the villa. It was built in the style of "Frankfurt kitchens," a design developed by architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky at the end of the 1920s. She focused on optimizing the workflow to make sure that household chores could be performed by the staff as easily as possible.
The magical garden
The natural surroundings of the house were just as important as the villa itself. The large glass windows allowed those inside to contemplate the garden and a pond where the four Schminke kids liked to spend time swimming.
The perfect place for "Night Grooves"
The open, modern spaces of the Schminke House are the perfect setting for "Night Grooves," helping the musicians to feel at right home in an exceptional setting. When everybody is sitting on the long sofa, the boundaries between cultures and genres start to blur immediately, giving rise to special musical moments.