Kesselhaus Acoustics is the season of outside acoustic gigs that Kesselhaus puts on each summer at the beer garden of the Frannz Club. We talk to Tom Allan who plays on the 25th.
The gigs are free of charge, open for everyone. Always (mainly) unplugged acts, Flaumküchen (kind of like pancakes) and cold drinks, always Tuesdays at 6pm. Perfect sundowner stuff! A daughter of the Knut Acoustics sessions that have been running successfully in St. Pauli, Hamburg, Kesselhaus Acoustics pulls together an inspirational line-up of acts. Each play 30 minutes, a hat goes around at the end of each slot, chilled out good times guaranteed 🙂
The season kicks off on the 25th June with Jack Curly, Paul Weber, and Tom Allan & The Strangest – the last of which is here in interview. Tom Allan is a plucky young indie rocker with a British soldier dad and German mum. An ‘army brat’, he moved from town to town and never settled down: is that what turned him and his sidekick known only as ‘The Strangest’ into indierock’s new hope? Find out below…
indieBerlin: To kick things of – you’re from Erkelenz. Where is Erkelenz and how’s the music scene there?
It‘s a small town close to the Dutch border, behind Mönchengladbach. After my father decided to leave the Royal Air Force we moved there. Besides the annual Stadtfest and the few who claim they play guitar to strum the intro of Nothing Else Matters over and over again, there is absolutely no music scene. No pubs or youth clubs that let bands play, so when I was 14 or so I started to take the train up to Mönchengladbach because there was way more going on!
indieBerlin: What qualities do you think you got from your German mother, and which from your English father?
From my old man: I walk straight. Remember? He‘s an ex soldier. My mother: my hair, I guess. I probably wouldn’t be here doing this interview with my Dad‘s (non existent) hair.
But that has nothing to do with their nationalities.
indieBerlin: Do you feel more English, more German, or do you for example think of yourself just as European?
I don‘t care about all that. That‘s also why I don‘t get the Brexit and the swing to the right in most European countries, including Germany. I am rather proud to say that we are a multicultural band. (The Strangest is Mexican)
I probably wouldn’t be here doing this interview with my Dad‘s (non existent) hair.
indieBerlin: While your dad was in the army did you move around a lot or was it always Germany? And if so, what effect did this have on your when you were a kid?
We moved around a lot. I lived in many German and English towns. I probably couldn’t even name them all. I guess that explains my weird accent. As a kid it was a bit hard sometimes because once you made friends, you moved to a new place.
indieBerlin: Why does your bandmate call himself The Strangest?
Well, take a look at him. Isn’t that reason enough?
No, it’s all because of a Doors song. He‘s a huge Jim Morrison fan.
indieBerlin: Apparently you met because he was wearing a Libertines teeshirt. Are you also Puta Madres fans?
We were at the Puta Madres gig in Cologne two or three weeks ago and we quite enjoyed it, yes.
Why does he call himself The Strangest? Well take a look at him. Isn’t that reason enough?
indieBerlin: How would you say your music has progressed from your first EP?
I think my songwriting has progressed and that is where I take the most pride in. I am no great singer or a great guitarist but I guess I can write some catchy tunes and bring them across.
indieBerlin: What’s the difference between playing to German audiences and those elsewhere?
Language plays a big role. Many Germans come to me after the show and say that they didn’t understand a word. But lyrics get buried underneath a loud live sound anyways. But we experience differences not only from country to country, but also from city to city. We can play in a sold out venue in Hamburg or Cologne in front of a sweating and pogoing audience, screaming our lyrics back at us, on one day. The next day we play in front of 20/30 people in a city we’ve never been before. It‘s hard to compare.
indieBerlin: Tell us something about your newest album.
It‘s the best album since „Sgt. Pepper‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘. Cliché enough? :p
indieBerlin: Three adjectives to describe the relationship between yourself and The Strangest?
I am just calling him right now, so that he can help me on this one. He‘s not picking up….but hey! It‘s bloody early! It‘s 1:45 pm so he‘s probably still asleep. eeeeeehm….how‘s about:
I hope he agrees on these three….
Photo by Alexander Wurm
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 Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.