I first heard of Fenster during one of the previous interviews. Intrigued by the bold statement that they are one of the best bands currently based in Berlin I had to check them out. Indeed, my informant was not wrong which is rather evident because I ended up conducting an interview with the band.
What really makes Fenster stand out from many other bands is their simultanously dark and warm music combined with an uncanny approach to using sounds. A free track for you to figure it out for yourself is available on their website.
I had a great time talking to Jonathan and JJ who make up the core of the band and uncover a bit of the mystery surrounding those two.
How did you meet each other?
JJ: I met Jonathan for the first time in February 2009 in Berlin when he was playing in a couple of other bands. We played a little music together and I ended up opening for one of their gigs. We would play our acoustic stuff with two guitars. He would hear some of my songs and show me his little ideas. It was pretty casual.
Jonathan: We played three or four times together and then she disappeared from the face of the Earth [laughs] and I thought I’d never hear from her again until one day a year later she came back and called me up. It was the perfect moment in time. I had just split up with one of my other band projects. I was stubbornly writing songs by myself and the only person I showed them to was JJ. She said that if I ever wanted to do something with those songs she’d be on board. We were writing songs on guitar, but with a vision to arrange them differently. We both didn’t want to do a cutsey folk project. We had a dream of doing something more inventive.
Who was involved in recording the album?
JJ: It was us and our producer, a really good friend of ours who also recorded Jonathan’s other band who he still plays with, The Loafing Heroes. Jonathan met him on the street in early 2009. His name is Tad Klimp. He’s from Greece but he used to live in Berlin. He’s an experimental musician that works with more electronics and installation based sound composition. We knew that we wanted him and no one else to record our album, so we wrote him a really long letter explaining why he had to come to Berlin or why we were going to move to Pforzheim, this tiny town that he lived in. [laughter]. We basically didn’t give much of a choice. Fortunately he was really into it. We sent him some pre-recordings and he came to Berlin for 8 days. We recorded the whole album in that time in our basement studio in Steglitz. It was a really amazing experience, I think for all of us. We slept there in January and it was really cold.
Jonathan: A window fell on her head [laughter].
JJ: That’s true [laughs].
There are many instruments on your album. How do the two of you perform?
JJ: We have a drummer (Lukas) and he does sort of more percussion than conventional drumming.