I’ve been doing music since I was about ten. And, although I’m sounding like Phil Collins now, it all started with a drum kit. I played for three years, driving my parents mad. I then suddenly stopped playing drums and traded my kit for a C64. The next 3 years I was gambling, swapping, cracking computer games. But with the end of my puberty and the arrival of the Amiga Computer I left the computer business and got back to the music. I would play quite a funky beat, but at the age of 16 I knew drumming wouldn’t be enough for my artistic ego.
There was pain in my heart and longing in my eyes. I knew I had to start to write songs. Songs that would express what I felt. It sounds cheesy, but like Momus says in one of his songs, „so many clichees have sentimental truth“. It must have been 1985/86 or so that I was fascinated with british Bands like The Smiths, Madness, The Colourfield, Aztec Camera. But at the same time I loved what was coming from America too: Scott Miller’s Game Theory, Hüsker Du, Three O’Clock, The Rain Parade.
Learning to play guitar seemed the right choice at that time. But the most influential instrument in that era must have been my 4-track-recorder. With that machine it was possible to emulate a whole band with just one person. I put about 400 songs and fragments to tape the following years. I learned to play keyboards and most of all I started using my voice.
Though through my twenties I constantly produced music it never occured to me to do music for a living. I was and am working as as a journalist mostly for tv. Writing & Recording songs was a hobby for me at most times. But around 1999 the urge to put out a record grew. So, with no record label behind me label I decided to produce a 4-track-ep by myself. I recruted a band of friends, borrowed some money and booked a studio for a week. The outcome was GIRLS USE DEODORANT THESE DAYS, which was released shortly after on Firestation Records. It got quite some good reviews and sold well in Japan. There was only one problem: no live line-up. The guys that had recorded the record with me, were becomingfathers and teachers.
I was back with my -now digital- four-track. It must have been at that time that I started to do music for pictures. It started with Jingles for a tv-show, background music for pornmovies, everything where I could compose music for pictures. In 2002 I got together with André Abshagen to do a soundtrack for a science-fiction-movie for kids. Abshagen then also produced the title track for the second ep TOO MUCH SPACE TO WALK AWAY. The single was reviewed very well and got some airplay, but sales were a bit low for a potential hit single.
In 2004/2005 I did more and more music for films letting the avocadoclub sleep. It must have been early in 2005 that I felt the urge again to put out a new record. And this time, this I knew, it better had to be an album.As my tv-royalties had paid off quite well I was able to buy myself shares of a Studio here in berlin. Suddenly, I wasn’t forced anymore to limit my time in the studio for budget reasons, I had as much studio time as I wanted.
The work for EVERYBODY’S WRONG began. Over the next 6 months I put down the tracks mostly by myself, with a few guest appearances here and there. And, what can I say? I sorted out mediocore songs and filtered songs till I found I had a good pop-record. And I think that’s what I did. But there was something missing: a band feeling. I was tired of my Ivory Tower. I asked Martin Petersdorf if he would join the avocadoclub as a drummer. He eventually said yes and we found the other bandmembers pretty quickly. We started rehearsals december 2005. March 2006 saw the avocadoclub back on the road again.
“Too much space to walk away” which became the radio-single for the longplay-debut “Everybody’s Wrong” became a little hit this time, staying on top of the Berlin Radio-1-Airplay-Charts for three weeks. The Album got reviewed very well and even sales were quite satisfying this time.
In the beginning of 2007 we had already played some liveshows in Germany, and new songs popped up in my head, so the work for the new album began. Having done most of my previous music by myself I wanted to change ways in the studio. So, instead of multitracking and overdubbing everything by myself, I got in the studio with Drummer Daniel Grinstead who nowadays plays with the Band Monoland but also used to be drumming in what was my first band as a singer: The Pale Puppets.
In September 2007 we started the rehearseals. It took us about three months to get ready to record. Eventually Daniel, the pro, laid down the drum tracks for the whole album in a three-hour-session, which I felt was absolutley neccessary to give the album an organic feel. The following months I spent with many talented musicians in the studio to do overdubs.
In August 2008 I felt pretty exhausted. Although I had recorded and overdubbed for over half a year, it seemed to me like I was flooded by all the material I had recorded. It was sort of a Brian Wilson Feeling: I had all this great stuff but didn’t know how to put it together.
But then my luck changed. I met Desmond Squire again, the british lead singer of bands like Blochin 81 and Lato. I had always admired Des for his brilliant lyrics and his nonchalant way of singing. I told him I was stuck with my record and asked him if he would help me with some of the lyrics. He agreed, and so we spent some very productive time in the studio together. It showed that not only he had wonderful ideas for the lyrics but also would sing some parts on the record. What can I say, Des helped the album a lot, and he thrusted me back in the right direction.
But still things weren’t moving too fast with the record. Having no set release date and unlimited time to play around in my studio, I fell back into old habbits. Now that I had the songs together I lost myself in mixing and finalising. In 2010 I was still not finished with the record. Some songs already had about 20 different versions. I was lost again. At that time i think even my very patient Co-Producer Andi Jung almost lost his faith that this record would ever see the light of day.
I had to change tactics again. So instead of spending more and more time on the record and not getting finished I paused. Every three weeks or so I would now go to the studio, work on a song for a few hours and leave. No playback no nothing. I had to get out to get in again. After I few months the songs that I had spent much too much time with grew new to me again. And that was the turning point. With this look from the outside I could make decisions again. Suddenly I knew which of the 20 mixes of a song was the best one, because I listened to them with the right distance.
At the end of 2010 three years of labour finally condensed into what has become DUSTY NIGHTS, an album with 9 songs and a playing length of 40 minutes.It was the hardest musical fight I’ve ever fought, but having come out of it with a great record made it all wothwile. But that’s just my two cents.
last updated 21st of april, 2011