Holler My Dear: Eat, drink and be merry: Release Information
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Release Date: 13.03.2015
TT Catalogue No: 4620
Holler My Dear - Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Quite shortly after hearing the first few songs, the question inevitably arises: Where does this unusual band come from? With its melodies of hymnal phrasing and jubilating surges that give you goose bumps; with its passion and grandeur, which one would attribute mostly to southern and eastern Europe; with the airiness that – at least in pop music – is usually ascribed to the British, just like this subtle humor that saves also profound passages from becoming gloomy? And above all: with this wonderfully variable singer whose exuberance puts a smile on your face?
The answer to this riddle: the sextet comes from many directions, geographically as well as musically. The sonorous voice with tremendous range and compelling enthusiasm belongs to Laura Winkler. Born 1988 in Graz, she studied voice and composition at the music conservatory there and moved to Berlin in September 2011. Here she soon met her future band mates and in March 2012 Holler My Dear gave their first concert. More about the musicians shortly, but first a little more about the gravitational center of the ensemble, because it really is unique how confidently and lively Laura Winkler changes through styles and atmospheres. Her spectrum reaches from delicate moments to soulful phrasing and rhythmically compacted verses and to scat insinuations and long sounding notes, radiant without any dramatic vibrato.
The accomplished trumpeter Stephen Moult is originally from London. In England he played with a hip hop-band and with the Alternative Dubstep Orchestra, in addition he studied contemporary music; playing with Holler My Dear, he ranges between jazz, funk, vaudeville and Balkan-folk. Drummer Elena Shams and Valentin Butt came from Russia to Berlin; of course potential Slavic souvenirs are found more in the sound of the accordion than in Shams’ sensitive though equally powerful rhythms. Butt has already played with the Berlin Philharmonics and at many renowned Berlin theatres; sometimes his harmonica-aesthetics remind of French musette and other times the multiple award-winner goes more into a jazz direction. Lucas Dietrich originally called Vorarlberg his home, has lived in Paris for three years and besides creating zestful bass-lines, he is now also responsible for the graphic appearance of the band, everything from album artwork to website layout. Fabian Koppri from Brandenburg had the shortest way to Berlin. Besides mandolin, he plays innumerable guitars and composes film music from time to time; Laura Winkler met him while working together for a dance performance. “We are all very different personalities, that go together very well though”, Koppri exclaims happily, “because of our diverse musical backgrounds, we never think about genre. This way we can surprise ourselves over and over.”
In the fall of 2013 the debut-album of Holler My Dear was released and since then they have been touring many countries all the way to Cairo. For their new creation Eat, Drink And Be Merry they took more time to give the songs distinctive individual style and fine details. “With trumpet, accordion and mandolin, the basic sound of the band is rather bright”, Laura Winkler says, “therefore we have now also recorded a few darker sounds with Rhodes piano and electric guitar. Furthermore, we invited guests on violin, viola, cello and vibraphone for even more complementary tone colors.” During the creative work in the “ballroom” of the Traumton-studio further sounds were added. “We already created live at the studio, what is usually done in post-production in pop-music”, Lucas Dietrich explains. “The spherical intro is not generated electronically, but is completely acoustic”, Valentin Butt grins, “we have captured the sounds of falling plastic bags, scattered voices and instruments in the room and layered several tracks on top of another.” Live and directly recorded songs, which eradiate that uplifting energy that fascinates Holler My Dear fans at concerts again and again, are also part of the album’s dramaturgy.
Laura Winkler describes her lyrics as “optimistically verbalized thoughtfulness”; in the song Tiramisu she inverts clichés with relish and sarcasm. The hymnal Have You Seen The Troll deals with a self-discovery and was already written a while back. “Although I don’t know yet how I’ll get there, I have a goal in mind clearly and I set off on my way”, the author summarizes the metaphorical story. Quite deliberately the term “pride” is used in this context. A similar idea is behind the song Move On. It is about the power of societal norms, which, for example, become manifest in conventional gender roles, from which many try to escape. Laura Winkler’s poetry is personal, but not a diary set to music. She always leaves room for interpretations of the listener and in a way takes after the lateral thinkers Joni Mitchell and Antony Hegarty, whom she holds in high esteem.
What does the title of the album, Eat, Drink And Be Merry have to do with all of this? “It captures the spirit of the band”, Laura Winkler explains, “the piece itself is a declaration of love to Berlin, to this crazy city, in which so many cultures, mindsets and orientations can coexist.” Stephen Moult adds: “We as a band are certainly just as colorful as the city. Apart from that, we are also unified by the fact, that we all have a leaning towards indulgence. When we’re on tour, the main subject is mostly where to find good food. On our website we even have a blog about cafes and other culinary things.”
The courage to have confidence in own ideas and ideals turns out the briskness of Holler My Dear. Their urban songwriter-gypsy-folk-pop, which the band smartly describes as “hand-stirred gourmet music”, is programmatically described by the first lines of the album: “This is a new beginning, a brand new fearless start.” The cheerfully expressed confidence, “take the risk to slip on the banana peel”, lasts until the last piece, You Can Be Anything. Who would want to close themselves to such esprit?