Empathy is released

Empathy, the first album by Grizzly Bird, is out now. We played it yesterday in Berlin – our first ever show as a 4-piece band. It was intense!
You can get your digital version of the album now at Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer or Tidal. Or you can make me happy and order a CD via Bandcamp. If you don't have a CD-player, there is also a book-version with a download of the album.




Empathy: About the songs (II)

Track 6: Horn

This is the oldest song on the album. I wrote the lyrics on a train in Austria during a university excursion on alpine folk music in 2012, I think, and then wrote the music on the ukulele I had with me. It's kind of a mix of ideas for several songs that I combined into one. It only occurred to me very late that this song fits in with the concept of Empathy. It's not as based in reality as the other songs, but nonhuman and human animals – in the end we're all just stranded on this fragile planet with no idea why and at some point we're all going to die. It's a bit bleak, I'm sorry.
Musically, I saw this more as an acoustic campfire-like song, but when I started playing it with Nils and Florian, they went full reggae on it. So that's what it is now.

Track 7: Bloodlust

Well I guess when you listen to it, it's kind of obvious how this song came to be. After a terrible, sleepless night, I sat at university, couldn't focus and instead came up with the cello line and the story for this song. I don't remember much of it, to be honest.
This song was in fact the first song recorded for Head in the Air in 2013, but I later decided it would fit much better on this record. I re-recorded the vocals, but the rest of the song has been sitting on my hard drive for six years.

Track 8: La Selva

Remember I was in Colombia with during hurricane Matthew? I wrote a little song about, in case you forgot. After all that happened, Katharina and I hiked through Parque Tayrona. Matthew damaged some of the path and we got lost, but managed to find Playa Brava, where we stayed for the night. Anyway, on our way there I heard a bird sing a very catchy melody. It kept repeating it over and over. As I walked, I imagined how it would sound with some organ chords and electronic beats. Catchy indeed! This song is my memory of that moment, the feeling of the jungle and the bird's song recreated electronically. I didn't record it, unfortunately, so maybe what I remember isn't exactly what the bird sang. I did record some monkeys though and they found their way into the song.
These tiny monkeys can be heard in La Selva

Empathy: About the songs (I)

Track 1: Koko & Kanzi

In 2013 I took part in class about animal cognition at university in Berlin. I learned a lot about the minds of apes. Koko and Kanzi kept coming up not as examples, but as jokes. As fascinating as they are, their leading researchers have become to close to the animals and have fallen to anthropomorphism. Therefore the experiments have lost their scientific value, according to much of the scientific community. So instead of admiring the animals, we laughed at videos of Kanzi cooking noodles and Koko looking indifferently at the cats she apparently loves. I instantly knew I wanted to write a song about them. As funny and sad as their story is, I do find them fascinating. I mean, Koko apparently finds human nipples funny. I seriously think even that tells us something important about animal minds.
The idea for the song stayed with me for some years before I actually wrote it. I watched every video about them, read every paper I could find and scrolled through blogs and comments by former employees. Then I first played it in 2016, during the tour for Head in the Air, if I remember correctly.
Kanzi enjoying some marshmellows


New Album: Empathy

If you came to my shows during the last years, you probably heard me say that I've been working on an album about animals. In June you will finally be able to hear it. Empathy, as it is called, will be released on June 14th by The Famous Gold Watch Records and it will be both Grizzly Bird's and the label's debut. A day before that, we will present it live at Barkett in Berlin Schöneberg.

A pre-order is now up at Bandcamp, where you can also listen to a new song, All Is Well: https://grizzlybird.bandcamp.com/album/empathy

Apart from the usual digital stuff, the album will be released on CD - still the most practical physical product for me at this point. It will contain a booklet with incredible animal photography by our bass player Nils, as well as all the lyrics. And with this album, the lyrics are probably more important than ever. The cover picture was taken by Michael Helmer, who usually makes photos of the Allgäu, my home region, that are not quite as dark. I am really happy that he let me use this one, as it fits the album perfectly.


Widow (live at The Famous Gold Watch)

Here's the third and last of the live videos we shot last summer at The Famous Gold Watch in Weißensee. Widow is a song I wrote a very long time ago for my old band Orange Harvest Autumn Pumpkin. I never stopped playing it and over the years it turned into many different versions with different line-ups. So it's nice to have this version with the current line-up recorded.
 

Koko & Kanzi (live at The Famous Gold Watch)