Berlin Soundcheck: The Mokkers     alternative, rock,rockabilly/50's

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[From left: Gabriela, Elisa, Franzi, Verita]

If you’d see these four girls on the street they probably wouldn’t strike you as members of a rock’n'roll band. They are young, charming and totally sweet and they can play! Their influences range from blues through punk to rockabilly and they combine all of these into a kickass combo. They are on a look out for a label so grab them before someone else does!

We caught up with them before the official release of their first EP that will take place this Saturday.

Tell me more about yourselves. What are your names, what instruments do you play?

Gabriela: My name is Gabriela and I am in the band since September of last year and I replaced the fomer drummer who had to leave the band. Where do you come from? From Spain. I used to live in Barcelona and I came to Berlin at the end of August. I found a band very quickly. Have you played in a band before? No I was just playing with friends for fun.
Franzi: My name is Franziska, I play guitar and I’ve been in the band for 3 years.
Verita: My name is Verita and I’m in the band since the begining. I started it with Elisa. I play the guitar and sing. I also write the lyrics and give ideas for the songs.
Elisa: I’m Elisa and I play the bass.
And how did you meet each other?
Elisa: We went to school together and we’ve had the band for 5 years now.
a: We were 17 when we started.
Do the three of you come from Berlin?
a: No. Just the two of us (Verita and Elisa). We come from the suburbs of East Berlin.
Franzi how did you meet the girls?
Franzi: At the time I was in a different band and I needed a change so I started looking on the internet for other bands. Verita posted a notice online to which I replied and met the girls. I liked their music and I joined.
Verita: She became part of the band from the first meeting. [laughs]
Elisa: Before she joined we only had a drum, a bass and a guitar and we wanted to try and see how it would be to have a second guitar. Franzi was just what we needed to fill that gap.

You’ve been playing since 2007 and you’ve just released your first EP. Why did it take you so long?

Elisa: We had a lot of changes with our drummers over the years. (Gabriela) is our fourth drummer. This sounds like something from “This is Spinal Tap”. I hope you don’t kill them or anything [laughter].
Franzi: Yeah they always explode. [laughter]
Elisa: With so many changes it took a long time to finish the songs. Also, when we started the band we didn’t really know how to play guitar.
Verita: We were not ready to record. We were still studying and practicing on our intruments.

Where did this idea of creating a band come from? What was the spark?

Verita: When we were 15/16 we listened to the Ramones, The Clash and so on and we wanted to play too. My brother knew how to play guitar and he showed me some things sometimes and songs that we could maybe play, since we wanted to have a band. That’s how it started. We thought “We can’t play but it doesn’t matter. We can go to Punk Lab in Hellersdorf where they have instruments that we could borrow.

Was it always a conscious decision on your part to be a female only band?

Elisa: When we formed the band we were only girls. Verita, I and the other two founding members, went to the same class. Later when our first drummer left us we tried out boys too, but it didn’t work.
Franzi: Last year in September when we were searching for a new drummer we were also looking among boys as well as girls but Gabriela came in and she was just perfect. Other people applied like a really strange drummer in his 40′s who did heavy metal but Gabriela was the only one who fit us.
Verita: She was the only one we tried and went for. That is a strange thing with our drummers. [laughter] Whenever we searched for a drummer the first girl that came was the right one. Everyone thinks it must be so difficult to find a female drummer in Berlin but we never had problems. A lot of people asked me how we did that. In general there aren’t many girl drummers around.

How do men and other male bands react to you guys? Do you ever encounter negative comments or is it always positive?

Franzi: I think it’s mainly positive.
Gabriela: It’s because they don’t expect anything [laughter] and that’s why they are always surprised. They expect less than they hear. Sometimes we get some constructive criticism but most of the time they are impressed.

Who inspires you in terms of music?

Verita: In my case it’s Holly Golightly. She is my favourite singer and she inspires me a lot. I also like girl bands from the 60′s and 60′s revival garage girl bands. Blues and rockabilly are a source of inspiration too.
Franzi: I listen to a lot of stuff like blues, punk and garage. I really like a lot of garage from the 60′s but also from today. As far as current girl bands go, I like Dum Dum Girls.
Gabrilela: I’m really inspired by surf music from the 60′s. I love drums from that era. That beat was used for all of the popular music in the 60s but it was the main beat for surf too.

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Interview Categories: Berlin Soundcheck.  Interview Tags: alternative, berlin gig, concert, konzert, live photography, rock, rockabilly/50's, and The Mokkers.

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