Hometown duo Gurr talk about tour tribulations and give us their best summer tips.
In October, Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee released In My Head, a tight half-hour of catchy garage-pop informed by the internet, rollerskating and nights at Mitte’s 8mm bar. We caught up with the fast-rising German band in between a month of touring the UK and a summer of music festivals in their home country – including Yo! Sissy and Pure & Crafted here in Berlin.
What are you two up to these days? Do you still have day jobs?
Andreya Casablanca: No, this is our day job now. Our lives have changed a lot since October. Before that, we were studying and worked and did the band on the side. But then we played the Reeperbahn festival and got these offers to tour more, and we’re still adjusting to this new…
Laura Lee: …new lifestyle. We’re kind of trying to get a new routine, because now we have a practice space at Tempelhof Airport, which is pretty central. So we’ve been trying to meet there between 9 and 10am and leave at 5 or 6pm. And then sometimes in the afternoon, we just go to my place and do office work.
AC: We don’t have a manager, so it’s a lot of emails. All the time.
You must’ve gotten offers by now, though?
LL: Yeah, but we like to keep things DIY and be in control.
How does that shake out on the road? Any horror stories from your last tour?
AC: We played this one urban festival in the UK called Dot to Dot. It was in three different cities, and the first night we partied really hard in Manchester. I booked a hotel for the next day in Bristol, but when we arrived at the Travellodge, they said we had booked it for next week. So then right after we played we drove two hours to the next hotel. When we left the next day, we realised that Laura’d taken the room key with her, and they were like, “You have to pay ￡80 if you don’t give it back.” So after that night’s show, we drove back to the hotel again. We’ve become more relaxed with these things, though. We toured when we were in college, and whenever these fuck-ups happened, we’d panic. And now…
LL: … now, we’re just like: okay, we have to drive back, I guess.
Do you feel you’re still in that transition between ‘big in Germany’ and big in general?
LL: I mean, when we were starting out in England, we had some BBC coverage, and The Guardian reviewed our record, so we were very lucky to get some press there. But it’s still a super fresh start.
AC: You know, that month in the UK was kind of like struggling again, knowing that people are just going to watch and check you out because they don’t know you. And then coming back to Germany, everyone knew our lyrics, and we suddenly realised we had been a band before.
Do you get recognised in Berlin?
LL: A little bit. Especially when we go around together. I think Andreya is way more recognisable than me.
AC: It’s the bangs. But actually, since the album came out, it’s happened lots of times. Which is weird. I’ve started feeling paranoid, like, walking to the U-Bahn.
LL: Andreya doesn’t leave the house without makeup now.
You’re playing two festivals in Berlin this summer: the queer-oriented Yo! Sissy, and Pure & Crafted, which is supposedly for motorcycle bros…
LL: Yeah, I love it. We love the queer scene – one of our first gigs was for the Slutwalk festival in Berlin, and these issues are very important to us. But we also wouldn’t be happy just being in that scene. I mean, playing with Interpol is amazing. They’re such an important band to me, and [Turn On The Bright Lights] is one of my top 10 favourite albums. So it’s cool to be playing shows where we are being taken seriously on both a musical and a politicised level. It’s a good mix.
Do you ever get sick of the “BFF” angle with which you’re portrayed in the press?
AC: People can’t just say we’re good musicians, because we’re women. So they need to find something else to create a niche with. It’s weird, because none of our songs are really like [singing] “I’m having a good time!” That’s not even the place that we’re coming from.
Summer bonus round: your favourite summer drink?
BOTH: Aperol spritz!
LL: I love it. It’s super yuppie, though. I think we need more punks to drink Aperol spritz.
AC: Fernet with soda water. When you’re super drunk and it’s really warm and you feel gross, drink that and you’ll feel really good. Or I really enjoy Hefeweizen in summer.
LL: [feigns shock] Andreya! What are you turning into?!
Favourite summer spot in Berlin?
AC: I really like Plotzensee because it’s only 10 minutes from my house, and you can just swim to the beach from the other side.
LL: The worst Berlin summer spot is Tempelhofer Feld. There’s no shade, and then when it’s dark you can’t find anyone.
Song of the summer?
AC: Besides our hip hop song that we recorded two days ago, “My Butt is Sweating So Hard”? It’s, like, Bavarian meets hardcore rap.
LL: We’ve been listening to Calvin Harris’ “Rollin” a lot. And I really like the new Chastity Belt album. I think that’s a good summer soundtrack because it’s sort of melancholy, and there’s also a nostalgia or sadness in summer sometimes.