GURR – ” In My Head “

Posted: October 18, 2016 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

Gurr

Gurr, the Berlin-based duo of Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee, were looking for a new way to describe the music on their first full-length LP, In My Head, so they held a contest on social media. The band has a devoted fanbase—nicknamed GurrScouts—who, according to Casablanca and Lee, have been incredibly supportive of the band over the past four years.

Fans of Bratmobile, the Raincoats and Sleater-Kinney will find plenty to love in Gurr. And for a band only now releasing their first full-length, they have received the kind of attention that bands with much longer discographies would envy: An early single “Metropole” was included on the soundtrack for the film Desire Will Set You Free, directed by Yony Leyser (which also featured cameos by Berlin legends Nina Hagen, Peaches, and Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld). They have toured with the Coathangers, Bleached, Jimmy Eat World, and Best Coast, with whom they share a left-coast surf-rock vibe.

The day we met, they had just returned from the Reeperbahn festival (where they were named one of the Top Ten New Bands by Musik Express). They’ve also received plenty of attention in the United States: American feminist magazine Bitch noticed their first EP  “We’re going to SXSW,” says Casablanca. “We are so happy to go to this country that inspired us so much.

“Some artists just want to release an album,” says Lee. “They use all their money, they never play live, then look for a label, then look for shows.” But Gurr flipped that trajectory on its head. They recorded a bunch of demos on cassette, then sent them out to venues. Soon after, they both went to college in the United States: Casablanca to the University of California Santa Cruz; Lee to the University of Pennsylvania. “We got to see all this music we loved firsthand,” Lee says.

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They followed their first EP with, in Lee’s words, “excessive touring”—six months—and the used the money to fund the their first LP, which was recorded at Kosmic World at Berlin’s Funkhaus, a recording complex housed in the former headquarters of GDR radio. The studio engineer used all analog equipment and strictly recorded to tape, with no digital effects

Gurr

The band also pays close attention to their lyrics, including lyric sheets and entertaining anecdotes with both their physical and digital releases (that’s how fans know that Velvet was inspired by a trip to Nico’s grave just outside of Berlin; “The Tragedy of S.T.” is an ode to a hungover morning spent looking up Shania Twain’s Wikipedia page; and “Super Tired” recalls an evening involving vomit, a French dude, and the Berlin Ringbahn.) With that in mind, we asked them to annotate a few of the songs off their new album.

Casablanca: It was finished really close to the end of the album. And I was staying in [Laura’s] living room. And I heard this riff, and we weren’t sure if it was going to be on the album.

Lee: This riff was just a recording on my phone. When our label heard it, it was so light and sunny and they were like, ‘This is our feel-good summer song!’ And Andreya wrote the darkest lyrics to it—it’s actually really sad.

Casablanca: A lot of crazy things happened here with refugees—a lot of violence against people who were just seeking a new home. In my Masters’ studies, I had this project where I wanted to talk about my own ignorance about these things, because I’m always reading about it and talking about it with my friends, but never really taking action. I’m so into pop culture and reading about what’s going on on Jezebel. But there’s this line, Moby Dick isn’t white anymore. It’s self-reflective: I should care about what’s going on in front of my own house.

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