Gewalt is a German industrial/indie rock band from Berlin who since their beginning have refused point blank to take any prisoners. At. All.
The band is formed around singer Patrick Wagner. Patrick used to have a band Surrogat; he co-founded and co-ran the decade-defining Kitty Yo record label; then he ran Louisville Records. He says that he didn’t touch his guitar for 12 years, then plugged it in, turned on the amp, and the sound, the feeling, gave him goosepimples. I guess it was time to get back in the saddle.
What? What is it? What. Do. You. Want. From. Me?
Gewalt have a history of refusing to rehearse, to avoid becoming bored with the material. Until recently their only output was two songs on a vinyl that had been recorded analogue in one go. One of their earlier songs, just as an example was “Szene einer Ehe” (Scene from a marriage). Lyrics are reduced to a repeated, angry “Was? Was ist denn? Was. Willst. Du. Denn. Von mir?” (What? What is it? What. Do. You. Want. From. Me?). You get where things are going.
Now they’re back and they still seem to be a bit pissed off. The new single is entitled simply ‘Deutsch’. It’s about Germanness; or being German. It isn’t, shall we say, a song of self-congratulation.
Patrick said of the video: “When you start to deal with the subject of “Deutsch”, it’s difficult to avoid the clichés of the horrible Germans. Which makes it even easier simply to point a finger at the evil AFD voters. It’s more difficult when you take a good look at yourself, and see how much of the ‘horrible German’ is in you. This was the only direction given to the 10 actors in the action-art-shoot from director Johannes Finke and cameraman Matthias David. For everyone involved it was liberating and terrifying in equal parts, opening the bottom-most drawer.”
I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves…
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.