Early this year i was asked to record a demo for Berlin based metal group MONZEN. We took an afternoon to record 3 songs live at their Rauchhaus rehearsal room. I used a minimal setup for the recording and mixed it in spring at my home studio.
Alex Buess mastered at wolf281. The band liked the result so much, they released it as an EP on Bandcamp and CD, and they have now published an official Videoclip to promote the release as well.
I probably met Renate first in 1996. I was a tour sound engineer for San Franciso based lofi pop sensation Swell, when she joined us in Germany, as the local booking agent‘s representative. Since then, our ways crossed regularly, when i passed with touring bands through Bielefeld, and later, Hamburg. I soon got to know how she used her rare time off to recover at her loom, where she produced wonderful wallhangings, each and everyone a unique work of fine art.
Renate von Löwis of Menar is an educated handweaver, but her love for the music turned her into a professional promoter and tour manager for almost all of her life. She has likely worked with everybody you might think of in the pop and alternative music world.
In 2016 she decided to settle down and dedicate all of her time to her production of art: the rugs, the paintings and lately also various items of interior design. Perhaps we will even see her designing fashion.
Shortly after her decision to now only work from Hamburg anymore, I took the opportunity to visit her at her studio. I took only very minimal equipment with me, to not get in the way, when I was filming her at work. I tried to put on video an idea of the exceptional 3-dimensionality and the incredible color of her handknotted pieces.
In thruth it is virtually impossible to get an accurate impression of the beauty of her art. You have to see it with your own eyes. I absolutely recommend you to try and see some of her work in the real world.
Needless to say that you can buy her fine art to make your personal space a different place with a unique look. You may even become a lucky owner of a singular work that is epecially made for you and for the room where it is meant to be on display. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information.
Renate has been nominated for the Kate Derum Award 2017 in Melbourne, Australia , has exhibited in Braunschweig, Berlin, Köln and Brussels, and has been featured on ozy.com in march 2018.
A rainy, grey day in the British Midlands. Sitting in the van on tour with Oxbow. 2 weeks into the tour you are getting used to a trance like state – sleepless, tired and excited at the same time. Keep your brain busy listening to some music of the driver’s favorites while emphasizing the next venue to come and the friendly new aqcuaintances who would bravely let you enter their worlds, and – who would care enough to put on a show. Thoughts drifting away to potential next adventures you may be wanting to start soon.
One of those why-not moments. Something inherent to Oxbow touring Europe. Do the things you do because you want to do it, because it seems logical to do it. Try what there is to try, no matter if anybody else would care. I ask Eugene: “Should *we* write a song together?” Seemingly waking up from some far away world, he looks at me and nods: “why not” and immediately falls back into his half-sleep, that would eventually only switch to total presence when the show was on at night. Eugene probably forgot about the idea right away .
While you get to hear a lot of great music, inspiring performances and meet all those nice and creative people every day, being on the road gives you hardly time and room to actually create. Even less when you’re the sound engineer and tour manager. Back at home I am really hungry to get my hands at a guitar. I write to Eugene, we should give it a try. He sends a few lines back and i have chords and a melody started already.
Twice is born, our very first song. We just naturally keep on writing the next, and another song, and pretty quickly have two hands full of songs that may be worth a whole album.
We meet Kasia on another Oxbow tour. Her own (hardcore) band is cool. And she puts so much love in having us there. Eugene stays in touch and later plays her some of our music. She returns sending us a ‘tape’ of her singing one of the tunes in the bathtub. She didn’t seem to be able to get away from the melodies anymore. Her vocals are great and add that extra twist. Suddenly the project is alive, an actual band. And Kasia keeps being the driving force for us to go on – and to go public.
2014 we are ready to start recording in earnest. I lay down the basics in my Berlin home studio. Vocals have been recorded later in San Francisco by Monte Vallier at Ruminator audio, Ivan Katz records drums for On the Sofa in New York. And we finally start mixing with Monte Vallier as a co-producer back in San Francisco in Spring 2017.
Monte has always been one of my favourite bass players since i got to know him while beeing on tour with his band Swell in the 1990ies. He doesn’t hesitate a moment to contribute his basslines to all of our songs, too. His great personality, engineering skills and awesome musical understanding makes him the perfect producer to finalize the recordings.