indieberlin caught up with 1000 Gram (pronounced the Swedish way tusen Gram) after their concert at the Auster Club. This was the second interview they gave to indieberlin (here’s the first), and three out of the four members are new. We had a quick chat about GREBBESTAD, their recently released EP, Wilco and how difficult it is living as a musician in Berlin.
indieberlin: What are your names?
1000 Gram: Moritz and Paul.
indieberlin: How long have you been together for?
Moritz (singer): 1000 GRAM exists since five years, five and a half. The two of us have been playing for a year maybe. With the other two, we’ve only been playing for a month.
indieberlin: How has the tour been?
1000 Gram: We have seven dates and this was the fourth.
indieberlin: And where are you headed next?
1000 Gram: Cologne, Hamburg and Leipzig.
indieberlin: So you’re not ending with a home concert?
1000 Gram: No.
indieberlin: Are you both from Berlin?
Paul (bassist): Moritz is, I’m from Salzburg, Austria. I’m trying to hide my Austrian accent.
indieberlin: So this is the first time this lineup play in Berlin.
1000 Gram: Yeah, both us played together last year on this festival here in Berlin. For this groupe, it’s actually the first Berlin show.
indieberlin: The name of the band is pronounced the Swedish way, and you’ve never changed that? You’ve never thought of changing it to Tausend or Thousand?
1000 Gram: No, people always get it mixed up. It’s been five years in the making and people are still asking me how to say it. If it was in German, it would take two m’s, and if it was English it would have an ’s’ at the end.
indieberlin: So were you added onto the band?
Moritz: No, it’s my band actually. I founded it in Sweden; in Gothenburg.
indieberlin: And how’s Gothenburg musically?
Moritz: It’s wonderful. When I first went there, I thought everyone was playing music in the whole town. The density of talent is perhaps ten times higher than in Berlin. For me, that was the feeling I got there. In the beginning it was kind of tough because I had to find my way. It was a wonderful city. I met my wife in Berlin and I followed her back to Gothenburg.
indieberlin: People were telling us 1000 GRAM sounded like Coldplay
indieberlin: You’ve got three releases to date, where were they recorded?
Moritz: Well, we recorded the first one in a nice studio. It was mixed the by the guy who recorded it. The second one we did half at home, half at the studio. And GREBBESTAD we did by ourselves. We wanted it to sound dirtier, as people were telling us 1000 GRAM sounded like Coldplay.
indieberlin: What are you main influences? You like to play dirty but you’re also into indie and you all have jazz backgrounds.
Moritz: We both knew what we liked when we started playing, Wilco, which isn’t really punk or indie. When I started out with the band, I listened a lot of Broken Social Scene.
indieberlin: Did you listen to Star Wars (Wilco’s latest album released last year)?
Moritz: It’s not my favorite, I got to Wilco through Uncle Tupelo, I used to be an alt-country guy. I loved AM,
Paul: I haven’t listened to it. I came to listening to Wilco from a completely different path. Through experimental, free improv noise music. Nels Cline plays guitar with a lot of jazz musicians and with Wilco.
I get a lot of inspiration from things that piss me off
indieberlin: Is there a recurring theme in your songs? Is it about love, deceit?
Moritz: Well if you write about love, you eventually have to write about deceit and hatred as well, so I wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer. Most of the time I write about things that piss me off and I get a lot of inspiration from things that piss me off.
indieberlin: Do you always address someone when you write the song?
Moritz: Yeah, most of the time. But it changes in between lines, it’s not that I write songs and have a thread through them, as if I knew exactly what it was about, but it might just be changing perspectives every line.
indieberlin: Had you not been in a band, what would you be doing?
Moritz: I think I would be willing to be a modern dancer. I’ve got dance moves, but what I do now is more freestyle. I enjoy dancing, it’s one thing I was good at when I was in school.
Paul: I was in an art school and we had four different departments (music, dance, theater and painting) and for the entrance exam I was supposedly very good at dancing so they wanted me to dance but I insisted on doing the music branch. I might have studied economics and politics and then do some activism in an NGO.
Fabian (drummer): I always like to build things, do some woodwork and basic craftsman stuff. Build some furniture.
Arne (guitarist): My dream was being a pro skateboard, making a living from it. But I had bad knees and that was problematic when I was in my teens so I had to stop skateboarding for four years. Now it’s back to normal but I only do it for fun sometimes.
indieberlin: When did you first imagine becoming musicians?
Moritz: Well for me it was early as I’ve got two older brothers who listened to music. I think I was 12 when I wanted to play guitar in a band. Then Cobain came and I had listened to Bleach before. I think I was thirteen when I saw the video to “Smells like teen spirit” and I felt like I had seen Jesus, it sounds corny but that was what I wanted to be. I’m an old fart.
Paul: My father is a pro musician. It was clear very early that this could be a job.
Fabian: Same with me, my dad played music as a hobby and he wanted to become a pro musician, so there was always music around. We used to jam together with my brothers. It was always there.
indieberlin: And you Mr skateboarder?
Arne: My sister bought an acoustic guitar when I was about eleven. I started fooling around with the guitar, took some lessons and it was always a lot of fun. I played a lot of Judas Priest and slayer in the garage with my boys you know. At the time my sister was listening to anything from the Stooges to Sonic Youth, all the good stuff. She got me hooked. It was all very much a hobby until I was fifteen, sixteen. After ninth grade I started a preparatory school for the conservatory.
indieberlin: Do you all play on the latest record?
Moritz: No, only me and the three former members, two Swedes and one German. We finished that only maybe two months ago, so we were pretty tight when releasing it. We played one day after the release. Before we started recording it, we knew the others weren’t going to tour. I finished recording all the guitars and stuff, sent the demos to the Swedes and they would do their part and send it back. We will do the next EP together however.
indieberlin: Is it easy making a living as a musician in Berlin?
Interview by Patrick Bird