Konstantin Gropper speaking...

Πριν από λίγες ημέρες έκανα αυτή τη συνέντευξη με τον Konstantin Gropper των Get Well Soon με αφορμή το Vexations, το δεύτερό τους άλμπουμ. Σήμερα δημοσιεύτηκε στην εφημερίδα που δουλεύω, αλλά φυσικά πετσοκομμένη. Εδώ μπορείς να την διαβάσεις ολόκληρη. Είναι η έκπληξη που σου έλεγα χθες το βράδυ. 

  • At what age did you start playing music? I read that your father was a music teacher. Was that why you got involved with it? Music was definitely the main thing at home. When I was five a started to learn an instrument. I picked the cello. I founded my first band when I was 13. That’s when I started to write songs. 
  • Before Get Well Soon you were in another band, Your Garden. Why did you leave? I just left the area where I grew up. I had to move from the countryside to study. But the band never officially split up. We just didn’t play together for ages. And everyone from that band is doing something else now, only one member is still playing in Get Well Soon. But we always make make plans to get together again. 
  • What are your musical influences? Are there artists that you look up to? I grew up with classical music. That is still a very big influence to me. When I started to write songs I guess it was the Grunge-Era with Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. I discovered the “quieter tones” with Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. Folkloric music from all over the world is always a big inspiration. But I couldn’t name a favorite Band or artist. 
  • What differences to do you, as a composer, find between “Rest Now Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon” and “Vexations”? The main difference to me was the time in which they were done. For “Rest Now…” I collected songs for years and for “Vexations” it was one concentrated period of work. About 4 months. So to me Vexations is a more closed and round work, it is more of an actual album. Also for the first time I recorded in a real studio. After I finished my home-recordings I went to an old classical studio to record strings, drums and brass. So this time everything is real on the album. And it was played in real, beautiful and big rooms. That makes it sound more vivid and human to me. 
  • Even though you are German you sing in English. Were you at any time tempted to sing in your mother tongue? Do you think that by using the German language you would have narrowed down your audience? I tried to sing in german. It never worked for me. I think the language might be to hard for my melodies. I started to write in English because I was mostly influenced by American bands, so it became my routine. We’re touring now the whole of Europe, which might not be possible if I sang in German, but that was never the reason why it did it. 
  • Your lyrics are more like poems with music filled with cynicism and pretty philosophical… What inspires you to write them? I am mostly inspired by art. Literature mostly, but also films and visual art. This time I used a lot of quotes on the album. I had my topics and did some research on them at works of other authors. So it’s kind of more a collage of quotes than actual original lyrics. I really liked this idea, because I don’t see myself as a person in the centre of it. The centre is the artwork. That it can get a bit philosophical at times, is just because I’m interested in these kind of topics. 
  • Listening to both of your albums I can easily understand that none of your songs are radio-friendly. Despite that, both Vexations and Rest now… are a success, with your first album gaining rare reviews from both critics and the audience. How do you explain that? I guess I can’t explain that. I just realized that my music seems to be accepted by a very diverse audience. People from 16 to 60 years of age come to my concerts and the most different media wrote about the music. I don’t know the reason, but of course I’m very happy about it. Maybe there is an emotional level in the music that’s not limited to some kind of scene. But, again, I don’t know. 
  • How do you feel about people downloading your work, considering the fact that we are going through a very difficult economic period? Would you ever consider releasing an album only in a download format? I really like actual records. I like to buy them and all my releases are always available on CD and Vinyl. I hope it will continue like that. Also my audience still seems to buy. I can’t complain at the moment. 
  • Do you have any plans in visiting Athens any time soon? I definitely hope so. I think there are plans being made. Nothing definite, but I’m pretty sure it will happen in 2010. 
  • I know it’s a bit early to ask, since Vexations was just released, but do you have any plans for a third album? At the moment I’m on tour and that is my main concern. Since the release of the first album, I was constantly working, so I guess I will take some time off after the touring with Vexations. So: no, no actual plans for album Nr.3 yet.

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