Pop artists are the cats of art: lithe divas, only seemingly cuddly, who make people feel like their grateful subjects. Of course, the whiskered rulers of the world live in very different ways, some live in front of rat holes on dangerous roads, only a few stay in houses with gardens and lifetime Whiskas subscriptions. Are we still talking about cats?
Let’s talk about the musician duo Gallant: Mona von Galant and Paul von Galant, a pop couple with aristocratic married names, were welcomed for the interview in a villa in a green area on Shakespeare Square near the Prinzregententheater, where you could let your cat run free without worry. However, Mona has just adopted a small dog, a golden retriever. Even if that doesn’t exactly make sense, she says, now that things are really getting started.
Galant compete in the German preliminary round for the Eurovision Song Contest (ARD will broadcast from Berlin on Friday, February 16th, 10 p.m.). “We’ve already won,” says Mona, narrowing her eyes and smiling: out of 693 applications, the show’s editorial team and an international jury of experts found them both suitable for the Grand Prix. During the audition, Mona hissed, meowed, did the claw dance – pretty telegenic. Whether they win – against the other eight, such as the ESC-experienced soul singer Max Mutzke – and are allowed to go to the final spectacle in Malmö on May 11th or not: a few million more people will be the untouched ones Gallant at the end of this week, know her and the song “Cat”.
Looking at the streaming numbers on Spotify, you can already feel the hands reaching out to you. “Zero points Germany,” one person wrote underneath, another: “At least we lose with pride.” They made a funny video out of the comments, both the cuddly and the scratchy ones.
“Cat” is not a cute song, but one with sparkling eyes in the bitter night. “She carries her anger under her hat and she feels so damn good about it,” sings Mona to dopey synth sounds from Paul. It’s about a person who, out of fear of society, no longer allows love and defends himself even though you just want to caress him, they explain. “Our song and our performance should not only entertain, but also be a message of freedom, self-acceptance and cultural exchange,” is how they dictated it to the NDR online editorial team. For them, the ESC is also much more than entertainment; they appreciate its cosmopolitanism: They love that the audience here gets involved with musicians from so many cultures, “especially when they sing in their own language,” says Mona von Galant. Nevertheless, they would never have thought of applying – if their manager hadn’t suggested them to NDR.
The fact that they have a manager shows that Galant want to move forward. “I would be happy if I could make a living from it,” says Paul, “but if the ESC doesn’t get us anywhere, then at least we know that this isn’t our world.” He has been a professional for a long time and is well employed. His actual name is Paul Aaron Wolf, he is 29 years old, comes from Mannheim and studied jazz and drums in Freiburg and Helsinki. He is currently doing his master’s degree at the Mannheim Pop Academy, produces other musicians and lives out his love of new music and sound machines out, sometimes in one avant-garde performance in a sawmill.
He met Mona von Galant from Munich at the renowned pop course in Hamburg. In that she “checked” that she was “really a songwriter and singer” after previously having learned something like metal engineering and media acting. “We both like the weird, the strange, have the same sense of humor – it was a match,” says Mona. Her real last name is Meiller. Drivers know this from the tipper tailgates of the trucks in front of them. Her father Franz Meiller is the managing partner of the machine company, but actually he is a photographer, theater maker, film producer – himself an artist and a passionate art enabler. Mona starred in his film about the cult(ur) bar Roy, which was shown at the Munich Film Festival in 2023.
Yes, there is money. “He supports us,” says Mona, spreading her arms in the small attic studio in the villa. He also produced their videos, “but above all he supports us emotionally.” Her partner adds: “He takes care of our souls, he’s been our biggest fan since day one.”
“I got my love of art 100 percent from my father,” says Mona Meiller. She has the freedom to try things out: She is a dubbing actress, for example in “The Vroni from Kawasaki”, where she dubbed a Japanese soap opera in Bavarian with Gerhard Polt, Gisela Schneeberger and others. She sings “Beauty and the Beast” beautifully on Instagram – that would be her dream “to play a cartoon character in a Disney musical film one day.” Mona Meiller could enchant in any role, dominate the world, at 25 she has everything ahead of her.
At the moment she is very gallant. Smart, sexy and hip, the two dance with their “retro-futuristic electro-pop” in the footsteps of “expressive artists” way before their time, like Falco or trio and especially Total stereo. They have five songs. Already. First. Like “Cat” or “Fruit Flies,” they mostly emerged from jam sessions. Paul turns on the sound machines, Mona sings along, but she’s happy to leave in any mistakes or her sayings (“Whatever, I’ll do it again”). Mona Meiller thinks: “We both really like the moment; when it’s right, the music starts to come to life.”