Search This Blog

Monday, July 17, 2023

The Melmacs - Good Advice

Hailing from Leipzig, Germany, The Melmacs give you top notch PowerPop-Punk, combining sharp guitars with an out of space keyboard, pounding drums and a groovy bass that will keep you begging for more.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell to introduce the different members of The Melmacs and their musical background? How long are you together as a band? How did you guys meet? Were you in other bands before?

Hello Hello, we are a bunch of friends who decided to form a band in 2017. The band consists of Sunnyboy Remo is our handknitted wool sock wearing powerhouse on the four strings. With his bouncing basslines he gives our songs the groovy swing-swing. His sweet backingvocals sprinkle the sweetest sugar over our songs and his meticulous way helps us in the rehearsal room to get the songs on their toes. He's an overthinker with a critical mind, always up for Aperol Spritz and experimenting when it comes to songs. He's very into details to give our songs the perfect fine tuning. He also always entertains our tour group with old bread rolls which he pulls out of his backpack after 3 days on tour and the same old jokes and stories over and over again till noone knows if we laugh out of fun or desesperation. That cheeky fella is a true collectible! And beware if there's a kicker table in your venue! He's not gonna leave till 7am.

When he is not on the road with us he is known as a Singer songwriter „Remo Devago“ and nestles velvety into the auditory canals of his listeners.

Max is our dreamer, but making dreams come true. He is the guy on the six string razor with the golden ears and the recording brain of every Melmacs tune at his studio.

He's also the Alf and video geek in our band, producing and cutting nearly every music video - never tired of trying out new stuff, experimenting with sounds and playing around with techniques.

He is our resting place when everybody else in the band is pushing each other up and probably the most introvert one of us, who's soul is as deep as the Mariana Trench.

He is the calm before and after the storm always looking for new vegan places to eat when we're on tour and never tired of putting on new strings before every single weekender just because he's rocking his guitar as hard as he can.

Connie is our drummer and the person in our band that has an unmistakable and infectional laugher, the biggest vinyl collection, the most concert visits and the perfect hairstyle in every situation.

He owns and takes along everything that could be handy to have someday and at least because of that he's the king of repairing and building things with a pleasant hands on mentality - especially interested in everything he hasn't built himself yet. He's the one that always craves for pizza and on top of that we wouldn't be organized at all without him. He brings every financial flow to an excel format and is the most focused brain of our shipping office.

Bimmi is our high inflammable singer, the most impatient one of us and always up for weird and dreamy ideas. She rarely thinks twice. Just doing her straight forward thing, sometimes in a curvy way, but always with a lovely-weird and electric attitude. Sometimes she's sort of a personal motivational coach - a true believer, but nevertheless overthinking and questioning everything in life to keep on changing our weird society.

She's our coffee loving, communicational, chaotic, clumsy and creative leader of the pack with golden hands when it comes to artsy things, new melmacian ideas and all that social media stuff. And we probably would have played 5 shows since 2018 without her booking skills. She loves to rock out on her Roland Jazzorgan she got when she was 7 years and and will never let it go! Apart from the loyality to this wild instrument she's in love with furry beings. She will cuddle every cat that might cross our way and pet every doggo who likes to get cuddled.

We all met many, many moons ago in a small town called Bautzen in eastern Germany. Bimmi, Remo and Connie knew each other from the same school, and Max got to know them through the same local concerts. Remo, Max and Connie were playing together in a horror punk band at the time. Remo also plays guitar in the band „StrgZ".

2) About your full length album "Good Advice", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

The album was recorded track by track in several sessions from winter 2020 to winter 2021. First we recorded the drums, overdubbed the bass guitar, added electric guitars and rounded it all out with vocals. Once that was all done, Max went back into the songs to add/change some guitars, guitar effects, etc. to spice up the arrangements beyond what was possible live. We certainly didn't push the overdubbing quite that far, although we could have. But we wanted to keep some realism. So most of the overdubs are extra effects guitars, Nashville style guitars to boost the chorus, etc., always with the thought in mind that the songs have to work with just one guitar in a live context.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

For the recordings we used a lot of old microphones from the 60s/70s, which we upgraded with some fancy analog preamps, but for tracking we went exclusively digital. To be honest, we're not super pros and we're glad we can digitally edit some of our takes. We don't know, but we could imagine that our mixing engineer Dan Dixon and our mastering engineer Magnus Lindberg used analog equipment when mixing/mastering our songs. But we're not sure, because we couldn't care less. We are not looking for that "oldschool" sound and think that the result is a perfect mix that represents us well, a bit vintage but still something fresh. But it would be interesting to do a live recording on tape one day, but we probably need to practice a lot for that. Haha. It's puzzling when you listen to records from days gone by and analyze the perfection that bands like Toto, Queen or the Beatles were able to capture on tape. They were true wizards at their craft.

4) Is it correct that the album was released a while ago in Europe but is now finally also released in America? How did all this happen and why took it so long to get an American release?

Yes, that's true. When we first approached labels to release our first album in January 2022, we received some positive responses. It was Bakraufarfita Records and Wanda Records who gave us the first pressing. When the album sold out, we thought about re-releasing it, and Spaghetty Town Records and Beluga Records came to mind because they liked our album when we first sent it to them, but they were too busy in 2022 and couldn't add another release to their schedule. So we asked them to be part of our repressing gang, and here we are, releasing on Beluga and Spaghetty Town as well! Also, we were able to get Queen Mum Records to join our label family and they have released a special limited edition with different artwork.

5) How would you describe the music you are playing? If I were to call it PowerPop-Punk, would you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that?

In the last few months we've gotten a lot of reviews for our album and it's funny to see what people describe our music as. Some call it 80s wave (which amused us the most), 77s punk, 2000s skate punk, Distillers punk rock, Interrupters punk, PowerPop. The list could go on and on and we think it's cool because it shows that we're doing something that can't be easily pigeonholed. We think you can call it whatever you want - what matters to us is whether you like it or not - but wait.... naaaah - even if you don't like our music, we don't care Hihi. We just want to do what we enjoy, regardless of any genre, although we understand the idea of putting a genre over a band. So yeah, if you call it PowerPop-Punk - cool! :) 

6) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write the lyrics to a new song?

Uh, interesting question. Well, it's actually pretty easy to text empowering songs, cause that's what keeps us focused on the good and our power and gives us the energy we need to stand tall in this cruel and wicked world full of racists, capitalists,  sexists, warmongers, climate change deniers and other manmade crap. 

7) you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the newly released LP?? 

We didn't make another video for the album, which just got its second pressing, because we already made 6 videos for the album. We just released two new singles and videos called "Alive" and "Balls", so there is a lot of material on YouTube for every new Melmacian ! :-)


8) What can concert goers expect at a Melmacs gig are you playin' any famous cover songs during the concert?

We really enjoy playing live, the excitement before the show, the lights and the volume all contribute to us getting carried away on stage, so our live shows are always a little faster and harder than our recordings. Although we have to admit we still learn a lot from each show, and compared to some hard touring bands we are still a bit wonky around the edges. We have a cover in our set that has been around since our first shows, and it's called "Baseball Bat" by the band "Voice of a generation" - we also recorded it a while back if you want to listen to it on Bandcamp or Spotify, etc.

9) Are there any bands in Germany today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

Actually we cannot really stand this "sounds like..." question, cause it just depends on your indivual taste in music and noone else can probably relate to this. For example Bimmi was told she reminds someone of Brody Dalle. She just laughed, cause she cannot relate at all. BUT:  We highly recommend to check out these great, different and unique german bands:

The Spartanics - catchy oldschool streetpunk with great melodies.

The Not Amused - snotty mod/powerpop that is addictive

Johnny Wolga - funny guys with powerpoppy OiPunk

The Pissed Ones - autumn 1976 punk that will blow the hat off your head

Berlin Blackouts - great band with catchy punk rock tunes

Lobster Bomb - wavy, catchy punk

Chartreux - if you like emo/skatepunk, you should listen to them

STRGZ - great band that released the best German song since Nena's "99 rote Luftballons".

10) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your favorite bands as teenagers? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

Remo: I got my first punk rock record at the age of 7, it was a single by The Offspring. I knew the band from MTV but I had no idea what this music was called and had no other connections to such music at that time. In the following years I listened to very different kinds of music, some hip-hop, some 60s folk stuff etc. As young teenager I came to german punkrock (Die Ärzte and so on...). After this, a band I listened to "excessively" was Tocotronic. The whole thing was German-language 90s indie rock stuff. We called it Hamburger Schule. This band influenced me a lot. I didn't listen to any other music than that band for about two years. That was the time when I started to play the first chords on my guitar and to sing my first self-written "I'm against everything out there" songs. At some point I got into classic indie rock and from there it wasn't far to US skatepunk. I also had my first band projects at that time and from then on it went straight downhill into the swamp of various subgenres of punk, metal and rock music. 

Bimmi: As a teenager I was pretty much into Indie music. While all my other punkrock friends were listening to german punkrock bands, the only Band with german Iyrics I was listening to were Die Ärzte, wich is a huge funpunk band in Germany. After my exchange year in the US I was pretty much into NOFX, The Bouncing Souls, Millencollin, Sublime, Voodoo Glow Skulls and all that kind of stuff. Hugs & kisses to Luke Jones, who showed me all these bands and even sent me CDs to Germany when I was back. Noone else of my friends was listening to that kind of punkrock after I was back, but there was one person having a similar taste in music. I saw him nearly every morning when I was cycling to school and he had that NOFX shirt on noone else had in my hometown. I was too shy to chat him up, but a couple of years later it turned out it was Remo hahaha. Bands: The Kooks, The Bouncing Souls, Die Ärzte

Max: Music was always a big thing in my family. My father was into rock music since the 70s, although it wasn't so easy for him to get all the rock records because my parents were born in the GDR. My mother was into disco of the 70s and pop of the 80s, so my first steps into music came through my parents' record collection. I still remember the time in the 90's when I was a primary school kid staring at the covers of Iron Maiden LP's or listening to ABBA in the summer. So my path seemed clear. And although I briefly lost my way listening to Eminem (to my father's displeasure, hehe), I was back on track when Slipknot, Korn and so on crossed my horizon. My father and I attended many rock and metal shows together and still try to find time to go to shows together. At the end of my teenage years (does being a teenager ever stop?!) I was infected with traditional 80's glam rock and heavy metal, I was completely blown away by these styles of music and it was Bimmi who opened up the whole "punk rock" thing to me. When we first met I was an idiot snob who made fun of punk for its simple 3 chord formula, but luckily she managed to show me what I didn't get myself: It‘s not about how many different chords your able to squeeze into 20 seconds, not about the style its about the power and spirit. Bands: ABBA, Praying Mantis and Protex.

Connie: To be honest, I had relatively little access to "alternative music" at the very beginning.  My parents weren't really heavy music consumers either.  So I listened to the radio a lot.  At that time there was a relatively large amount of NDW "new German wave" on the radio.  Bands like Die Ärzte, but also EMINEN, came along relatively early.  However, when I was about 15, bands like Nirvana or Queens of the stone age completely cast a spell over me.  Backyard Babies and the 69eyes also came very soon and still have a big influence on my musical preferences.  A short time later there was also a lot of Metal/Emo-Core music followed by Heavy Metal, but that's another story. Bands: Die Ärzte, Backyard Babies, 69 Eyes

11) What are the plans for the rest of 2023 as far as The Melmacs are concerned? Do you guys plan to play some festivals in Europe or only smaller venues?

We are currently rehearsing and writing songs for our second album. We're excited that it's moving forward piece by piece and we can't wait to release it! We've certainly changed a bit since recording the last album and we're looking forward to playing the songs live. We're playing a few festivals this summer. If you want to keep up with us and our shows, you can always find our tour dates on our Instagram, Bandcamp and Facebook page. We have our first "tour" coming up in the fall with 7 stops in Austria and Switzerland, and we'll be doing some weekend tours in 2023 as well. We have also started working with "Muttis Booking" and are looking forward to what this cooperation has in store for us.

12) Anything you wanna add? 

Thank you for the interview! Stay interested, stay nice, stay clean, pet all the animals that want to be petted by you and bang your head and don’t forget No Life ‚Til Leather! (LOL) x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x