In order for non-English-speaking bands to be heard and reach audiences outside of their respective countries, they need to have some kind of tangible, universal sound. Unsurprisingly and overwhelmingly, such a musical objective is met when a band writes and plays songs in English.
Since its formation, the German band Me And My Drummer has cultivated a following for its international appeal, in and outside of Germany. The band released its first single,”You’re A Runner,” in January of this year. The track is a clear-cut, English-pop inspired hit. Its video delivers the song very grippingly, presenting stark images of lights and darks through slow-motion shots, really capturing the simple beauty of the song. The video effectively lures viewers in with its sharp aesthetics, serving as a key introduction to the band’s repertoire. Like the single, the rest of the songs on the band’s highly hyped debut album, The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey, are very internationally welcoming. The lyrics are sang with great diction; the melodies are easy to follow and aurally agreeable.
Me And My Drummer is the German duo Charlotte Brandi and Matze Pröllochs. Brandi plays the keyboards and belts lovely lyrics and Pröllochs plays the drums (and all other forms of percussion). The two musicians met in the western German city of Tübingen while working for a theater company. Both musicians had played with various bands since their teens, so their collaboration was the result of many experiences and many styles of music. Their sound is raw, yet polished, combining naked vocals with vibrant electronic accompaniment.
The release of The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey triggered a move to Berlin, the epicenter of music in Germany. The band considers Berlin to be the optimal location. “The scene is flourishing, you meet many like-minded people, but also many people who challenge your opinions. Additionally we’ve acquired a big network of people with whom we work, including other musicians, videographers, photographers, graphic designers… There are a lot of awesome venues here too, with a demanding yet sincere audience.”
When Sinnbus Records finally released The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey in May, the response was huge. During the four months between the single and the album, the band had had an incredibly successful tour in Austria and Germany, in addition to U.K. shows that had gone exceedingly well. So when it came time for the album release in Berlin, it was no surprise that the venue sold out way before anyone had even heard the recorded songs. Sinnbus had to rush to find an accommodating solution at a later date.
The band considers the developed hype with a very practical view: “We recorded the music before any kind of attention came from outside, so we only had to deal with our own demands in the studio. But in general, we don’t feel like we are under pressure and we don’t feel like we have to fulfill certain expectations. We make the music we want to make and we have a very strong vision of what we like and where we want to go.”
Furthermore, they acknowledge that the word “hype” can have negative connotations and can overshadow the music itself. They credit their fast success to their hard work and drive, as well as all the individual parts that helped build their name, including their single, their label, their producer (well-known and respected Tobias Siebert), and their booking agent.
When composing their music, the two write songs while jamming in their practice space or Brandi works on a piece and brings it to Pröllochs. They then work together to build the structures of the songs, including the English bits and pieces. According to the band, Brandi has always written lyrics in English, simply because it “feels very natural.” The two say the language barrier it was never a question and it was never a problem, while attesting that writing songs in English positively helps them play shows and gain fans outside of Germany. “It’s very hard for a German band that writes German lyrics to do well in foreign countries,” Pröllochs confirms.
English-speaking critics could find the musicians’ efforts confusing. Why sing in a language that is not one’s own? Isn’t that misrepresenting one’s self? But the fact is, as mentioned, singing in German would vastly restrict the band’s network. English is plainly the language that opens doors for young, talented bands. At the same time, if the bands are awful and can’t sing and can’t write in English well, then they won’t succeed. That isn’t the case with Me And My Drummer, though.
Since the album release, the band has added summer tour dates extending into the fall, including gigs in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Iceland, clearly pushing their resumé of shows. Because they’re a new band, their venues still vary greatly, from 50-person venues to 8,000-person festival slots. Me And My Drummer relishes in both settings, and they enjoy having the variation.
The band’s current 2012 summer dates are as follows:
11.07. DE – Bremen, Breminale
14.07. DE – Ingolstadt, Taktraum Festival
15.07. DE – Karlsruhe, Zeltival, w/ Xavier Rudd
20.07. DE – Ruesselsheim / Rhein-Main, Phono Pop Festival
21.07. DE – Stuttgart, Marienplatzfestival
27.07. DE – Diepholz, Appletree Garden Festival
28.07. DE – Wuerzburg, Fair Trade Festival
02.08. DE – Friedrichshafen, Kulturufer, w/ BOY
05.08. DE – Berlin, Zitadelle Spandau, w/ BOY
12.08. DE – Hamburg, Dockville Festival
15.08. DE – Dresden, Freilichtbühne, w/ BOY
16.08. DE – Jena, Kulturarena w/ BOY
24.08. DE – Ulm, Obstwiesenfestival
09.09. DE – Bochum, Musiksommer
For more tour dates and information, visit the band’s website. Fans can download Me And My Drummer’s second single “Heavy Weight (Edit)” here for free.