"It is wonderful to be able experience art without understanding how it was meant or what makes it good." (Kim Boekbinder said that during an interview I did with her) I might not have the biggest knowledge about music but I have a great passion for it. Passion is what counts.
I live in Berlin, Germany (born, raised and still resident) and this is my personal blog about music and other things that cross my way. Things I love to be exact. And even though I am German and my English is still not perfect, this blog is in English.
Just a few weeks ago, I heard the first single of British artist Fable. She worked together with Danny Griffiths and Darius Keeler of my most beloved band Archive. She has a stunning voice. In combination with dark lyrics and Archives soundscapes, they create something she calls herself “progressive electro rock”.
Yesterday she released the second single, “Stranger In My Head”, from her upcoming EP “Parasite” (13. October) - another very intense song, the words of the chorus “stab me before I change” and the synths keep echoing in my brain even when the song is already over. In parts the melody is disturbing and hypnotic.I love it. And even more members of the Archive collective played in this track: Pollard Berrier on guitar and Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard on drums.
I had the opportunity to send her some questions yesterday and here they are already. Let’s learn more about this young talent!
How did you start making music? In an interview you said “anything musical is either genetic or self-taught” - whose genes and what does /he/she or they think about your music today?
I think it’s forever evolving, I’ve sung a lot of different genres of music in the past, worked with producers and co-writers and taken inspiration from so many places, but I feel what I am writing now with Darius and Danny is a true reflection of my current state of mind.
How did you meet Danny and Darius? Did you know about Archive before?
I first met Danny in a pub in Brighton, it’s a small industry over here, he’s a friend of my managers. I’d listened to Archive before and found their music to have a uniqueness many bands from the UK don’t have, we got chatting and after a few writing session we had an EP finished - we’re in the process of finishing the full album at the moment.
When did you start working together and why?
We started working together just over a year ago, Archive are known for having a variety of vocalists featuring on their records, but to collaborate on an album with such an established band was a real honour. They’re so lovely to work with and I think its been refreshing for all of us to step out of our comfort zone and do something a bit crazy.
How big was their musical influence on the music when you wrote and recorded the music?
The songs definitely have Archive’s DNA running through them but with a touch of the theatrics, all three of us will bring a few ideas to a writing session that we’ve been working on and then we build the track together. Darius has such a good ear for arrangements, the soundscapes that Danny creates are other-worldly and I’m responsible for the lyrics and melody.
“Stranger in my head” just needs very little words but still has a lot of power and is very intense and hypnotic. Is less sometimes more?
With “Stranger in my Head” I think less was more, we wanted to let it breath, let the synth give a feeling of space and let the melody carry the song, the lyrics have a lot of personal meaning for me. “
What inspires you for your songs?
I write from my experience of living in this civilisation (the human zoo), I like to confront ideas people avoid in conversation, like the conflicting aspects and the complexity of the human mind and how our awareness effects how we perceive our reality.
You compare humans with parasites – that’s a pretty dark view of us at an age of only 19. Where does that view come from?
Not all humans, we are all individuals but as a whole I believe we’ve grown too comfortable with treating the Earth like it’s an endless pot from which we loot our endless needs and wants, not like the living organism it actually is. Most mammals reach an equilibrium with their environment but we have been hijacked by a mind programme. It is a dark view and of course ignorance is bliss, but it’s ignorance that has detached us from our own planet, our species is doomed if we don’t wake up from our material dream.
How is the music scene in Brighton?
Thriving at the moment, there are some exciting bands coming out of here, the same goes for dance and electronic music, it’s great to be a part of it.
Thank you for your time, Fable.
Here is a trailer for the upcoming EP “Parasite” (release due 13. October):
Have a good week,
…you should head over to Pledge:
Why? Because they are one of the best bands I know. It’s their third full length album and the first two “On/Off/Safety/Danger” and “Global Lows” still belong to my most favourite albums of all time. It’s the combination of spheric, wide pop and rock melodies and lyrics with a message. Personally I’d love to know in which direction they’ll go now and what topic they looked into this time. I am curious, you should be curious, too, and head over to Pledge NOW!
They’ll also be on tour in October (and probably November as well):
09.10. – LA BOULE NOIRE – PARIS - FRANCE
12.10. – GLEIS 22 – MUENSTER - GERMANY
13.10. – STADTGARTEN – COLOGNE - GERMANY
15.10. – MOLOTOW – HAMBURG - GERMANY
17.10. - CLUB007 – PRAGUE - CZECH REPUBLIC
19.10. – BI NUU – BERLIN – GERMANY
20.10. – MILA – MUNICH – GERMANY
21.10. – CLUB MANUFAKTUR – SCHORNDORF – GERMANY
22.10. – CAVE DU BLEU – LAUSANNE – SWITZERLAND
23.10. – LA PENICHE – LILLE – FRANCE
24.10. – THE ISLINGTON – LONDON – UK
Highly recommended! Last time it looked a bit like this and included a lot of dancing, singing a long and sweating on both sides:
Have a good weekend,
P.S. Has someone borrow me round about 750 € for me so I can buy Dave’s acoustic guitar? You’ll be forever loved. ;)
This the end of all lists. It’s my own. There may be some familiar sounding names in this list - one or the other was kind enough to take the time to give me their “best of 2012” list. I was curious what the musicians I like, would listen to. Some bands were mentioned in several lists like Alt-j, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Fiona Apple, Flying Lotus, Tall Ships, Scott Walker, Swans, Dinodaur Jr., Efterklang and Godspeed you! Black Emperor I did discover some bands that I have missed like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Meshugga, Yeti Lane or Tame Impala. It’s been a tough year for me and my blog with writing my diploma thesis in Chemistry.
I didn’t need to think very long about mine own list because I have a personal connection to all of the music, the albums, I chose. They move me, they make me feel, fascinate me and some are just utter fun.
I have prepared a youtube playlist to accompany your reading – a few aren’t on Spotify or these kind of portals. Please list to it in full while your reading my (little too long) list. Enjoy!
My most beloved albums of 2012 in no specific order*
Archive “With Us Until You’re Dead”
Songs about love – the self-destructive, the hurting, the one sided, the hopeless, the secret kind of love with a shimmer of hope in the end… I always feel their music with every muscle and every nerve in my body. They combine a couple of styles like Rock with Electro with Classic Element to create their own sound.
Veto “Sinus Point Break”
I am cheating a little here. The EP “Sinus” was released in 2012 but the follow-up EP “Point Break” and with it the resulting album “Sinus Point Break” will be released in 2013 (but I have heard them all already). I love their Electrorock and the clear lyrics which still leave room for me to find myself in them.
Tall Ships “Everything Touches”
“It’s complex, occasionally playful melodies, it’s controlled chaos and sound explosions and some rock guitars. What I like is their liability to scientific bits in their lyrics and the pictures they use in them…” (Me, a few weeks ago). Just a an incredible band.
The Good Fiction “Escape Pod”
Love. That simple…or not. The Good Fiction are one of my favourite rock bands around. I love how drums, bass and guitar work together and make it more interesting to listen. Ben voice sounds so familiar without reminding me of someone else.
I Am Oak “Nowhere Or Tammensaari”
Soothing. The voice of Thijs Kuijken wraps you up in a warm, comfy cloud far, far away from your own troubles – I always lose myself within the album. I still love its mellowness which break up into a mild thunderstorm every once in a while. It sounds very unpolished. And friends who I give a lift in the car still love it, too.
Birdpen “Global Lows”
The video for “Nature Regulate” is my favourite of this year (it’s in the playlist). The song is thought provoking in a gentle but direct way - they are not very heavy or very loud. It’s more like they lull you with Dave Pen’s soft voice and instruments that sound like they could disappear every second. The title tells everything about the main topic of the album – it’s food for thought and questioning yourself at times. The lyrics, combined with the soundscrapes they create, are magnificent.
Sycamore Age “Sycamore Age”
Actually this was my favourite in 2011 but it wasn’t released until mid 2012, so I can mention it here now. And as predicted I still love them dearly. Soothing sounds for my dark side, hypnotising, sinister, haunting, beautiful. They are a gritty fairytale.
Gentlemen & Assassins “Mother Says We’re Innocent”
It always sounds a bit like a love letter every time I write about Elyas’ or Sxip’s music – one reason might be that I got a lot more into out of the ordinary music after I have listened to their music and saw them live for the first time. Adding Brian Viglione to the game, you’ll get a one of a kind rock band – rocking storytellers who don’t need words to make you understand their stories but also can work with words very well.
It’s fun. Classic KISS really. I just have an immense pleasure to listen to those four dudes doing what they do. The riffs, the piercing drums, the make up and lyrics about sex as if they haven’t aged a day since the 70s. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make me happy.
The Candle Thieves “Ballons”
The Candle Thieves create playful Pop music with lyrics that are touching – sometimes utterly sad hidden behind a happy façade, sometimes “just” sad and then again the can be so amazingly uplifting – it’s a bit of everything. And they are uncanny for me as they pick up the feeling and thought I have never spoken out aloud.
Other albums I enjoyed a lot: Efterklang “Piramida”, Oliveray “Wonders”, Chorus Grant “And The Villa Nova”, Pulled Apart By Horses “Tough Love”, Bretterbauer “Bretterbauer”…
Favourite live performances of 2012 (as far as I can remember)
Archive in Berlin and London – there no intensity like theirs, no band make me feel like they do. Just no one.
Henry Rollins, Huxley’s, January 2012 – thought provoking as always.
Sky Architects – What a surprise in an sold out Schokoladen! Sweat, sweat, sweat!
Kevin Devine, Magnet Club, February 2012 – He reminded me of the joy of live music (read here) which I forgot a bit
Alcopopalooza (London) and the Christmas Party (Oxford) – favourite label and favourite bands like Gunning For Tamar and My First Tooth combined with awesome people - best days.
Mars Red Sky, every time I saw them in 2012 (and ever) – I love how their sound vibrates through my whole body without being ear-deafing loud. With every gig they play get better and better. I am really looking forward to hear new material next year to see how the developed!
Eagles of Death Metal, Lido, June 2012 – I caught a cucumber. Most fun live band and to see BOC back on a stage was good as well.
Gentlemen & Assassins, Wild At Heart, Knochenbox, September 2012 – one of a kind performances. To watch Sxip Shirey creating his sounds is just stunning.
Bretterbauer, White Trash, November 2012 - performing “Dörte” 3.5 times (soundcheck plus actual concert) – it made me a bit fuzzy in the head, an odd interview was made, fun was good.
Tall Ships, C-Club, November 2012 – Simply magnificent!
The Shanks, White Trash, December 2012 – What a Rock show that was! Even I was dancing.
My most beloved other stuff of 2012
Earlier this year I watched a couple of music documentaries during the In-Edit music documentary festival here in Berlin and two left a very deep impression on me. The first one is “Last Days Here” about Bobby Liebling, the lead singer of the 70s metal band Pentagram (www.facebook.com/pentagramusa). It is an very intense story which is as tense as a good thriller. When they started to film it, Bobby was a 50 something drug addict living at his parents house, more dead than alive. During the 90 min you follow the recovery of Bobby with the help of a fan and then manager Sean Pelletier. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride to watch them going through everything over a couple of years.
The second music documentary is by William Miller: “Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost)” about Bobby Bare Jr. (http://www.bobbybarejr.com/). I think me and Bobby have the way of dealing with problems in common – make people laugh while telling them about them. You see the son of a Country legend, Grammy winner at the age of 6, father, divorced, struggling musician who is writing some fantastic rock music with influences from various genres. I love his lyrics – the songs always sound as if he had an immense pleasure and fun writing them even if his topics aren’t as much fun. The stories he tells in “A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head” (2010) are so exaggerated, it is fun to listen and discover them.
A couple of days ago I bought a beautiful film called “This Time Tomorrow” (http://itendstomorrow.com/) about a romantic guy who convinced his ex-girl friend to spend the last day before the apocalypse (21.12.2012) happens. The way these two characters develop and the pictures are just wonderful despite it’s not so good ending.
My favourite idea to have something different to a simple CD: the Book Club by Olympians (http://www.onwardolympians.com/)where you got 4 CDs in the course of a couple of month and a craved out book where you could put them in. Fabulous idea! (Sorry, Jack, but that was just awesome.)
Also, we had a little series of concerts called “KistenKonzerte” here in Berlin. Absolute wrong timing as most concerts were held during the last few months of writing my thesis but it was so much fun. We had Eric Eckhart, Miss Kenichi, Saudia Young, Die Wanderdüne and Elyas Khan. Yay!
A few reasons why I am excited for 2013:
There are countless things I am excited for in 2013. Archive will release another album in spring – as they are one of my all time favourite bands I am of course excited what they will do this time and what the theme will be. Another spring related release is the upcoming album of Spring Offensive – their lyrics, music and videos never fail to amaze me. Owen Kimm of Elephants (who split a while ago) has a new band called Chewing Gum – I missed his voice a lot and just want to hear a lot more from it! The same goes for Ollie – singer of Salvation Bill and The Grinding Young. I just want to hear more for those two men.
My favourite Electrorockers Veto will release the second EP and make the album complete by the end of January and go on tour – natural excitement about the new releases. The Shanks will release an album around their last single “Feel The Holes” - as they are a rather new band on my radar, I am looking forward to this as well. The new video from The Good Fiction for “Tucked In”. And the new Eels album!
There is so much good music coming – it seems ridiculous. And the plans for my blog? More writing, plan another “Session For The Heilewelt”, do more interviews again but I don’t know what the future brings and what job I will do and this kind of things**.
Exit the old to conquer the new!
Thank you all for following and reading,
*Well, I tried to make the playlist not sound weird really.
**I made my diploma (like Master) in Chemistry and search for a job - it’s not easy with the things I want to do.
The fifth list is from a very beautiful and nice woman. A couple of month ago I met Saffron Sprackling - we both have a band in common which we both love and she is friends with (guess which-it is not that difficult). Saffron is the singer of a band called Republica who released some songs and albums in the 90’s and reformed a few years ago. “Ready To Go” is such a strong song, it still is buzzing in my head as soon as you mention the name to me. They reformed after a long break a few years ago and are now playing gigs all over the world.
Saffron Sprackling (Republica)
- Archive of course - friends since 1992!
- Gary Numan ‘Dead Son Rising’
- Echo and the Bunnymen album ‘The Fountain’
- 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster
- Chatelaine. My friend Toni Halliday who had the band Curve with Dean Garcia, She has got the most beautiful voice in the world!
- Watched Alt-J + Foals last night do live session on TV at Abbey Road Studios. It was just brilliant.
- Wild Beasts liked them for awhile and again amazing live. So yes far to say like them in general.
Ones to watch.
- Jayce Lewis last album self-titled. He is touring with Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit in Germany Jan. 2013 with his Project Black Light Burns. http://www.jaycelewis.com/
- Tenek ‘EP 2’, single ‘Another Day’. They are touring with Republica on the UK tour 2013.
- Passarella Death Squad, label ‘The Republic of Desire’.
- The Amazonica. Uk singer/DJ.
- A-Star. Band from NYC, albums:’Flashbulb’, ‘Days of’ and the new one ‘Lotus’
- Khufu (Republica drummer Conor Lawrence)
- Tricks of the Gods.
- Treasure House. There are the singer Julie Harrington and Johnny Davis is the guitarist who is also in the band Tricks of the Gods.
- Analog Angels.
- Adam Sky: Neo-Waltz
- My fave Texan band: Girl In A Coma, from San Antonio, Texas. They are on Joan Jetts Blackheart label, the best song is ‘Stay’
- Martin Rossiter’s new solo album ‘The Defenestration of St Martin’. He is the singer of one my favourites bands of the 90s called Gene.
- last but not least: Brighton band Kovak. They played me their new album and its good! The new single called ‘Radiate’
- [A few days after Saffron send me her list, I got a little belated note:] Forgot to mention my own new song ‘Christiana Obey’! Tim Dorney from my band has put it on Republica Official page on Soundcloud. Also, Tenek have done a remix. We are starting our UK tour next year March 14th at the Garage London then York, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol and Winchester. We are also playing the Isle of Wight Festival June 16th.
Last Tuesday had been the first time, I drove home from a concert with tears filling my eyes*. It wasn’t tears out of sadness or anything. They were just there. Archive played a concert in Berlin and they were immense. I had been a little concerned beforehand as they had to cancel the concert in Hamburg the night before due to illness. So, it could have easily become the worst show but they wiped this thought away within the first song.
Someone told me afterwards that I looked like I enjoyed the concert - I assume massive singing along and dancing while squeezed in the first row are a good indicator. At the end of the whole evening Smiley throw the drumstick right into my hands on purpose which is like Christmas and birthday on one day when you’re a fan. But in the end it is their music, the beats, the words and the sounds that filled every little corner of my mind and body that night. Everything just seemed to be over in the split of a second. I think half of the time I spend in other spheres, a different state of mind. I don’t really know how long (2 hours?) or every song they actually played although I know and sang them. For me an Archive concert is more about the feeling they give me rather then the songs they play - they have so many songs I love from the deepest bottom of my heart that it doesn’t matter. Sometimes I rediscover song I have forgotten about like “You Make Me Feel” or “Waste”.
They played “Waste” as the second encore song of the second encore. Maria Q, Darius and Steve played a stripped down version of a brand new song which I really loved and that Maria sang it made me happy because Archive is a collective after all. Ever since I saw them the first time at the Visions Spring Break 2006, they had a relatively steady line up and I got rather used to it. However, I remember how they just blew me away in 2006 - totally unexpected as I didn’t knew them before. Hearing “Fuck U” live was amazing (as always). It didn’t lose any of its intensity in all those years - it is one of my all time favourite songs of everything I have ever heard or witnessed live. The song just levels me out in so many situations. And the audience on Tuesday loved it as well. In general the audience loved the concert just as much as I did - they clapped along, cheered and - I think - sang along, too. But I must admit that I didn’t notice much of the things going on around me. They have played a lot from the most recent album “With Us Until You’re Dead”. “Rise” was amazing and “Stick Me In My Heart”…but wasn’t a weak point in the show. Not for me.
The bottom line is: I can’t really put in words what this band means to me - no matter how often I try. And even though I have meet some of the members several times already, chatted with them, did interviews, I wouldn’t tell them even if I had the words. What I tell them is always just a scrape on the surface. What I tell you, my dearest reader, is just a scrape on the surface. I love Archive. That is all.
They are still on tour through Europe:
Thank you for reading,
*For guaranteed tears during a concert, it has to be William Fitzsimmons. Oh, I miss William. I hope he is back soon.