The best discoveries are sometimes made purely by chance. Just like the discovery of penicillin or radioactivity, The Age of Sound was a discovery that was made purely accidental and nonetheless groundbreaking. Through a group work in one of my seminars, I met Olli who casually dropped the bomb that he had a band who had just released their first album and that you could actually purchase it on Amazon and iTunes.
Considering the fact that people “in a band” are ten a penny, you get even more excited when the band is actually blatantly brilliant. It took them years to get to where they are. When they started out they were a shitty school band formed by sandbox friends who just wanted to make music together. These friends are Oliver Grandt (vocals / guitar), Sebastian Gätcke (lead guitar), Hauke Winkler (bass / cello / backing vocals) und Steffi Cordes (drums). They worked their way from shabby practice rooms and crappy sound at the beginning to a professional yet utterly likeable group today which is applaudable. Their music stems from hard work and dedication as you seldom see with student bands. They call themselves an “indie-rock-brit-pop-beatles-oasissound-connecting-mod-happening-on-eight-legs”. Their music is energetic, melodic and their album And Then Came the Age of And then came the Age of Awesomeness – The Age of Sound Hear more? The Age of Sound page Album: And Then Came the Age of Sound available on Amazon/iTunes Sound is so surprisingly versatile and just REALLY good. There is nothing “schoolband-like” about them. They are just as amazing live (for example on a balcony overlooking the Reeperbahn, check out their balcony TV gig on youtube) as they are on CD.
I must admit that even with my grand Saturday hungover headache their song “On a Sunday” made me want to dance (I predict hit potential!) The driving sound makes your feet move inexplicably in rhythmic motions and I caught myself humming the song after the second time I listened to it, which is quite impressive. The combination of the danceability and catchiness of the melodies simply make me happy. Dear TAOS, thank you for helping me through Saturday and Sunday. I am going to buy your album, because I love you. I am not trying to brown-nose you, you are fabulous. Because you make honest music and stop-motion videos. Because you are a band from our local nest that really has the potential to do great things and make a lot of people happy. Because your singer actually has a voice that was made for singing. Because of everything.
Sincerely yours, the world.
tba* Interview: The Age of Sound
tba: Tell us something about yourselves. What do you do when you’re not on stage?
The Age of Sound: Apart from Steffi (who has an office job) we are all students. That makes for a wild mix of History, English and German Literature, Philosophy and Biology. And this is also what we do in our free time, because with studying and music there is not much time left for leisure activities. We don’t mind though, because nothing is more fulfilling than being a musician.
TAOS: The band as it is now came into existence in 2006. We’ve all known each other since our days in school or even kindergarten. It was one of those “friends start a band for fun”-stories.
tba: What made you start making music?
TAOS (Oliver): I started playing the guitar when I was 15 because the Beatles inspired me and really planted a deep fascination with music in me. I wanted to do what they did. Before that I used my creativity for drawing but I feel that music is the ultimate art form and I stuck with it.
tba: Tell us something about the name The Age of Sound.
TAOS: First of all we wanted a name that didn’t already exist and that would look interesting on a poster. We wanted it to SOUND like music. After 2 months of intense brain-wrecking we came up with Hi-Fi Rifle and The Age of Sound. We let our friends decide between the two and The age of Sound won. (to all those new bands out there: Hi-Fi Rifle is still available!)
tba: Even though it’s a terrible question: please define your music genre-wise.
tba: Who are your musical idols?
TAOSM (Oliver): Oasis, Elliott Smith, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles
tba: What ambitions do you have for the future?
TAOS: We hope to be able to record many more albums and play tons of gigs. And of course we want to win at least two Grammys.
tba: What’s your biggest success been to date?
TAOS: We loved that we got to play as the support act for Art Brut (n.b.: YEAH!) at Große Freiheit 36. Our greatest success however is that we got to record an album that is even available in stores. We’re pretty stoked about that.
tba: What is the greatest thing that ever happened to you at a concert?
TAOS: Sometimes the crowd actually sings along, which is an absolutely amazing feeling. Once someone threw a bra on stage. Never gets old!
tba: How is making music compatible with your university chores?
TAOS: you have to tactically plan your absenteeism and you can’t ever get sick. If you also get used to spending some sleep-deprived nights, it’s going to work just fine.
tba: What is your impression of today’s music business
TAOS: These days there are of course many advantages to being able to promote and present yourselves and receive instant feedback. As vinyl/cd lovers, however, we are a little melancholic. The death of ”physical music“ definitely pains us a little.
tba: What is you connection to Hamburg? Do you have a favourite place?
TAOS: Difficult question. Since we all grew up in this city, we are somewhat connected to it. Maybe not only somewhat but completely.
Oliver: Anyone, because it takes off like a rocket yet remains very pop-like.
Sebastian: Fan, because I co-wrote it and therefore have a special relationship with it.
Hauke: You’re Free. Why? Absolutely epic. The Wurlitzer-organ is amazing.
Stefanie: You’re Free, because it’s different from the other songs and just turned out surprisingly bloody brilliant. Especially considering that at first we didn’t even want it on the album.
tba: How do you get gigs in Hamburg?
TAOS: We finally got ourselves a booker, but sometimes we just get random requests to play a show. At the beginning the whole act of getting gigs was really difficult. Sometimes you actually have to pay if you want to play at a venue. It’s a vicious circle because without an audience you’re not getting gigs and without gigs you’re not getting an audience.
tba: How do you assess your own popularity? Do you make use of social networks a lot to promote yourselves?
TAOS: Social networks are incredibly important for promotion purposes. You can safely say that without MySpace (the older ones among you might still know it) we would not have an album today. We had over 13,000 fans on there, which was pretty impressive. But those glorious days are over, because MySpace is absolutely dead. Here we go again on Facebook. For the current album we have a PR-company that spreads the word of the release for us in many different channels . Some radio stations play us, too. If that means we’re popular, I don’t know.
TAOS: The worst are definitely the costs. If you stand at the beginning, making music is an incredibly expensive hobby: instruments, rehearsal space rental, travel costs at low / no pay. A while ago, we bought a band VW bus, so that we can get to shows without having to rent a car each time. And the album recordings, we also paid for ourselves. Therefore you don’t really have money left for anything else.
tba: Your tips for upcoming bands?
TAOS: If you’re having fun, stick with it! That’s really the best advice I can give you. We started as a crappy school band and are now playing all across Germany.
tba: Why are YOU „THE Shit“? 😉
TAOS: Because we make music that we love and we have an incredibly good taste. 😉
tba: Any famous last words??
TAOS: Only ever watch „Anchorman“ in English!