Empathy: About the songs (II)

Friday, June 07, 2019

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

Track 9: La Michi

What would an album about animals be without cat content? This song was one of the first ideas I had, along with Koko & Kanzi and Ulla & Max. But I didn't actually write it until January 2018, two weeks before we played it live in Munich and Füssen.
La Michi was the melodramatic cat of some friends in Berlin. Always graceful and gorgeous looking, always the center of attention. But then a baby dog moved in with her. And she fell out the window. Die she fall or did she jump? Anyway, after that she seemed traumatized and didn't leave the sofa, so her owners began giving her anti-anxiety medication. How very human!
By the way, La Michi can be seen in the music video for Trust.
La Michi on set for Trust 
Track 10: Lanugo

This song came unexpected and fast. I wrote it after I first saw my son on ultrasound. I was deep into making this album about animals at that point, and seeing this being that carries parts of me and will carry them beyond my life put me in a very special state of mind for a couple of days. I saw how we are all part of nature, part of the universe; I saw the circle of life and the beauty of it all. I was so inspired I wrote the lyrics in five minutes and recorded all of the instruments within the next couple of days.
I'm so glad this song came to me and I think it's the perfect ending for this album. I was a bit worried the whole album would be to dark and this song ends it with some peace and beauty.

Fun fact: I wanted to name a song Lanugo ever since I first heard the word at school.