Sunday, 20 December 2015

Interview with the Redhead Gang – Noisy Crumb’s Girl Power Weeks

Yep, indeed, two red-haired power girls form the indie singer-songwriter duo Redhead Gang from Regensburg, Bavaria. As students at Regensburg Musical College and blessed with an amazing talent for heart-warming, unique melodies, they are up and away to sing themselves in the hearts of every listener who crosses their path.
I personally first saw them performing in a limestone cave (!) and immediately got caught by the pure harmonic atmosphere, which is enfolding their concerts, whether dancy or melancholic ;) Thus, I am so happy they gave me this interview! Those ladies are an excellent example that real music power does not necessarily have to be loud…

Noisy Crumb Interview - Redhead Gang

How did you originally get together as a band?
We met at a local bar named the "Art Club". There was an Open Stage where many musicians came together every week. We really enjoyed making Music together and so we started the "Redhead Gang".

What can fans expect from your album “Settled On Clouds” resp. from your live gigs?
They can expect a wide range of feelings and stories out of life, realized with acoustic guitars and polyphonic melodies. On our album you can expect a lot of love - and especially broken-heart-songs because they were written at a time when both of us had to deal with break ups.
As musicians we come in terms with such issues by songwriting. But we also pose questions about life in general, such as: “Where can hope be found?“, "What is it like to be free like a bird?" and „What happens to people when they are lonely?“

What are the inspirations for your songs’ lyrics?
Everything from various impressions to daily life experiences, and most important: being honest all the time.

Being two girls with – I personally have the impression – both equally great singer-songwriter talent, would you say you have more catfights within the band than others? And how do you handle them?
We honestly don't think that we have more catfights than others. Of course we need to compromise here and there but as tricky as the situation may seem, we always find a way to get together in the end. Also, we mostly write our songs separately so one of us presents a new song to the other to create polyphonic melodies and to work on it together. But, in cases of doubt, we always consider the wishes of the songwriter.

Interview - Redhead Gang

Keeping in mind your busy touring calendar from this year, would you say it’s more important for regional indie bands to go touring around to spread the word about your band – or is it more important to release new albums and songs (and maybe spread them online in the same amount of time you would use for touring)?
Our motto is to keep the balance – as both aspects indeed are equally important. We personally enjoy playing gigs more because they get you in direct contact with the audience and no gig is like the other. Also it is very important for our live-experience and for catching new listeners and, in this way, new buyers for our album.
Spending time in the studio is just as important. It always is a very intense and interesting experience and especially a lot of fun when it comes to experimenting with our songs. We love adding five-part choirs and strings to the one or other song, for example.

What was the greatest gig you ever played and why?
In the summer of 2013 we played at Christopher Street Day in Regensburg. This was an amazing concert, not just because of the huge crowd, but also due to the open-minded atmosphere – it just felt great!

What are your musical plans for the Christmas season and for 2016?
Right now we are very focused on our exams at the Music College in Regensburg but we are indeed planning a winter special which we are extremely excited about. We are up to release a winter song that we wrote, maybe even before Christmas.
For 2016, we currently are planning on playing a live living room concert in Munich which will be recorded and videotaped. We are really looking forward to that as this will be a gig with a whole band combo. Right now, we can’t tell when exactly it’ll take place, but we will definitely going spread the word on our Facebook page. It will probably go down at a friend’s apartment in Munich. Apart from that, there – of course! – will be new songs in 2016!

You can find more info about the Redhead Gang on their Facebook page and listen to (and download!) their songs from Bandcamp. By the way, my favourite right now is "Vogelfrei", a quite dancy song in Bavarian dialect! Thanks for the interview, girls :)    

Redhead Gang from Bavaria

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Interview with May Swan – Noisy Crumb’s Girl Power Weeks

Great voice, amazing stage performance and a lot of hard work – in our interview, enchanting May Swan, who is a professional (and very busy) singer from Augsburg, told me what it takes to make her gigs so highly coveted. Get yourself ready for glamorous musical girl power at its finest ;-)

Noisy Crumb interview with May Swan

May, how did you originally get to the music business?
Music has always been an important part in my life - since I am able to speak, actually! In the age of 9 I started my "musical career" as drummer in a traditional Bavarian marching band. But after a view years I realized, that nothing could keep up with my passion for singing. I began to sing in different churches. It was a really modern style of worship music, for example inspired by "Hillsong". At the age of 16 I thought about visiting a musical-school - but my parents were urging me towards a “proper” education. That’s why I started my apprenticeship as a graphic designer.
After a few years working in this job, I wanted to give the music more space in my life. I found a new job as marketing manager with the great opportunity to work only 4 days at week. This enabled me to visit the "Downtown Music Institute" in Augsburg, where I studied "popluar music". After the year of education I still wanted more. For one year I was singing in a band named "Triple Talk", which was an acoustic-combo combined with a string quartet. During this time I learned a lot about arrangements and voicing. After my time with Triple Talk I searched for a new band project and eventually became acquainted to my actually band-partner (and in the meantime also life partner) Holm.
Holm is working in the music business since almost 20 years. He encouraged me to built a more professional musical career - and so I started singing at weddings. I never expected such a great feedback – these performances really became a fast-selling item. Within just one year I learned a lot of new songs and worked at my performance. Now I’m in the "wedding business" since 3 years and I’m absolutely enjoying it.

As the perfectionist you are in your performances, what are you doing to “get better each day”? Any related tips you would like to pass on to other musicians?
To me, being a professional singer means to work continuously on the voice. You can compare it with bodybuilding - you have to train your voice like muscles.  I do engage with different voicing techniques, and also, I always try to keep my body fit. Apart from this, I also engage with acting and stage presence. I think I will never reach this point to say "Now everything what I´m doing is perfect" - but I think this is the key for being really successful.

May Swan - Honey & Soul interview

 You are touring and gigging as a professional singer – sometimes in the solo spotlight, in a duo combo and sometimes with a whole band. Which of these setups is your favourite and why?
I'm really enjoying it to sing while Holm is playing the guitar - it's simple but has this special magic ;-) But I also enjoy singing with the band and filling the songs with different voicing. When people book me as a solo singer, I'm working with high professional instrumentals. It's not the same like an "all-live" performance but it's always good for a singer to be independent in this business.
I would imagine that performing on events like weddings, etc., involves meeting even special expectations of clients and playing a lot of covers. Would you sometimes say you are more a service contractor than a music artist? And would being one be better than the other?
From my side I'm trying to combine the best of both. To me, being a service contractor means to be reliable. I try my best to make each wedding day more beautiful with beautiful music. The other side is my "artist soul". Of course there are days when you are not in a perfect mood - but I would say artists who are playing only their own stuff are in the same situation. They also have to fulfill a roll from the moment on they are starting to play for money. An artist always needs someone to listen to and appreciate his or her music. Thus, in a way every artist adapts himself to a target group - big one or small one doesn't matter then.
In the end for me it's an honor to accompany such special days, like weddings, and to make the people happy with different kind of music styles.

What do you prefer – studying songs, which you adore yourself and presenting a great cover version of it, or writing and singing your own pieces?
I love it singing covers. With my own songs I'm most of the time to critical to share it - and unfortunalety I have a really big time problem to create new songs. But everything in life has it's time. My dream is to create one day a German pop-soul album - and I will fulfill it one day.
How do you motivate yourself to perfectly sing cover songs which you actually don’t like yourself?
I motivate myself with the feeling that songs which are specially chosen from my customers having a special meaning for them. More than one time I started to like a song after we played it as band and after we saw the reaction of the people. Of course I also set some limits, for example I'm not singing songs with really bad meanings. Lyrics are really important for me- otherwise I couldn't sing it in a good way.

Noisy Crumb interview with May Swan

As you said, you are also working as a marketing manager: pencil pusher by day and music star by night – how is this mantra working out for you?
Very well, actually! The good thing is that my marketing job gives me a good foundation and security – thus, I don't have to take every singing job that is offered me. This gives me a high amount of freedom and keeps the music as my passion and not "as a job".

What are your plans for 2016? Any own projects, gigs, releases coming up?
In 2016 my focus lies also at performing and staging - I will not release own songs. I got the great opportunity to sing in a music show with also acting and dancing parts in the end of 2016 and the whole year 2017. I'm really looking forward to this new experience.

Thanks for the interview, May!
For you, my dear readers, I highly recommend checking out May’s work on her YouTube channel as well as on the Honey & Soul YouTube channel and on Facebook.