Photo by Michel Andrysiak
Berliner Jonathan Jarzyna and New Yorker JJ Weihl (now with Will Samson and Lucas Chantre) have been making music together since 2010; their minimalist pop and onstage instrument-switching earned them a deal from vaunted German indie label Morr Music. This year marked the release of their second album The Pink Caves, the departure of longtime band member Rémi Letournelle and their wedding.
JJ: I think in a way the nature of Berlin facilitated it. The emphasis here is so much on electronic music, but what we happen to do isn’t really as common, I would say. Maybe it was just the right place and the right time for us. We didn’t shop around, or send our demos to any labels; we were just seeing what would happen, and then [Morr Music] kind of appeared and we didn’t question it. Like an arranged marriage…
JONATHAN: Our first time in the US was this six-week mad adventure, realising how tough the States are coming from cushy European bosoms.
JJ: We were used to 45-minute soundchecks and backstages. On our first self-organised [European] tour, people were so welcoming, they’d make you pancakes – even for a band that no one knew. And in the States it really wasn’t like that. You were lucky if you got a warm beer, or a bag of chips, or someone’s floor to sleep on.
New York versus Berlin
JONATHAN: JJ has a New York attitude to getting things done quite quickly. After like one or two months of existing we had a website, after half a year we had a properly produced demo…
JJ: I think it’s about having what I like to refer to as a ‘personal hustle’. You can’t blame a city like Berlin for holding you back. If you want to do something in Berlin, you can really get it done. And you can actually get it done faster than you would in New York.
JONATHAN: I used to be pretty much a classic Berlin slacker, but I was frustrated in all the bands I was in before because I was maybe not as lazy as the others. This one band was actually really good stuff, like a shoegaze-y chillwave sort of thing, and we just rehearsed for an entire year and never even played a show. So pathetic.
Originally published in issue #131, October 2014