indieberlin: Why did you call the album Thin Walls?
Balthazar: We wrote it on tour and between tours, so we wrote often on the tour bus, where everyone can hear everything…
indieberlin: Did you write it mainly on acoustic guitars?
Balthazar:Yeah, and we have a load of Casio keyboards in the tour bus set up, and we were also staying at this old monastery, in the rooms where the nuns used to sleep, the walls are very thin.
indieberlin: Wow. Did you feel a spiritual vibe to the place or anything? Did that transfer itself to the record?
Balthazar:Yeah…the album is very… civilised.
indieberlin: Which is your favourite track?
Balthazar:It changes with each day of the week. Today’s Thursday, right? So today’s the first track.
indieberlin: Which track should people listen to first?
Balthazar: Well, the first one. That’s why we put it first.
indieberlin: Ah, yeah. Makes sense. Some bands spend ages deciding on a track listing, some bands don’t care.
Balthazar:No, we spend hours, days, weeks working on the track listing.
indieberlin: And what do you think, in these days, is the album format still relevant? Does it have a future?
Balthazar: We’re holding on to that. Although we don’t sell that many physical copies anymore, we like to make songs that sit together.
indieberlin: How was it working with a producer (the album was co-produced by Ben Hillier (Blur, Depeche Mode, Elbow) for the first time? Did it make a big difference?
Balthazar:It didn’t make a huge difference but it was a really cool experience, because it was the first time. It was much easier to work on the songs. We weren’t responsible for everything at the same time. It was more relaxing. You can concentrate more on the songs, before we were keeping an eye at the same time on the knobs on the mixing desk and all that. You can focus on the feel of how it should be. And he was a very cool guy to work with. Didn’t have the biggest ego or anything. We have egos enough in this band (laughs).
indieberlin: And did you find he put his own colour into the album?
Balthazar:I don’t think he coloured it,we talked about about what we wanted and what we were feeling with the album, and he just helped to finish it. I think that’s how the producer should work, just get out what is in the band.
indieberlin: And when are you out on tour?
Balthazar: We’re starting the tour in the UK and we’re in Berln (at Heimathafen) on the 29th April.
Balthazar’s new album Thin Walls is out 27th March.
Balthazar was interviewed by Noel Maurice, author of The Berlin Diaries.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaries, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site. Noel is currently completing his second novel. As well as running indieBerlin, Noel is also active as web designer, chatbot creator and business communication coach.