Interview: Brunhilde

After releasing a four-track teaser last year in the shape of the ‘Choir Boy’ EP, the German duo of vocalist Caro Loy and guitarist Kurt Bauereiss, collectively known as Brunhilde, make good on the promise shown on ‘Choir Boy’ and return with a full-length platter: ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’. Hailing from Bavaria, the duo plays a heady brand of high-energy alternative punk-n-roll with some metallic edges thrown into the mix. You wouldn’t expect a band with such a mythical, warrior-influenced name to play pop, would you? We spoke with Caro and Kurt to get the lowdown on all things Brunhilde-related. Check-in with the pair below…

What are the origins of Brunhilde? How long have you been playing together?

Caro: As Brunhilde, we´d been playing together since 2013. Kurt and me met in 2009. For a few years, we actually played in a cover band and toured for weddings, birthdays, corporate events, etc. Unplugged – just the two of us. After some time, we started writing some originals. And eventually named it Brunhilde. And also ended up playing some good slots – up to supports for the likes of ZZ-Top, The Sweet, Nazareth.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band? And how was it?!

Caro: I was so nervous!!! It was very exciting and a new feeling for me. It still feels like yesterday…

Actually, I do remember my outfit still. Not a good memory though 😉 The shoes were so uncomfortable… I could hardly move on stage. I was so scared I would flip over 🙂 That day I decided to not give a shit on how I looked down at my feet.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Brunhilde?

Caro: First of all… Now I can perfectly move on stage 🙂 Brunhilde is loud, Brunhilde is straight, Brunhilde is a little bit furious, Brunhilde should be fun, Brunhilde wants to take the audience on a journey. I hope every person attending our shows is happy when they go home.

‘To Cut A Long Story Short’ is the brilliant new album, what was the gestation period of the album like? How long had you been working on it?

Caro: We’d worked on “To Cut a Long Story Short” for almost two years. The majority of the songs was done in 2019 still. I loved the work on this album. It was a lot of fun and an experience I don’t want to have missed out on.

Although it’s a long album, it doesn’t drag or dip in quality, but did you ever consider dropping a few tracks, or was it always the case that it would have these 14 tracks? After all, we are constantly told that people’s attention span is limited these days!

Caro: Just dumb people 😉 Just kidding. But – then so many people told us: the album is too short…

What goes through your head in the run-up to releasing new music? Are you excited? Nervous? – Both?!

Caro: Not nervous, just very very very excited!!! I’m super excited to hear the listeners’ reactions. I always hope that people do like my music and are going to support Brunhilde as well.

The cover of ‘So Bad’ is hella good! Were you nervous at all at covering someone as legendary in your home nation as Nina Hagen?

Caro: Nina Hagen is an icon, and I love her style and her own sound. There is a little preamble to it… we first tried to do a Blondie song. But it just didn’t match with the Brunhilde sound. My voice, Blondie’s voice… She is perfect in her way and also an icon – but a little too cute for me 🙂 Thus I had picked “So Bad” and instantly was in love!!! Nina’s voice… Incredible. I had listened to our version of it now so often and tend to wonder if Nina did too … 🙂

Looking at your website, the amount of love and creativity that goes into the artwork for Brunhilde products is incredible, having a physical product like vinyl, etc seems really important to you?

Caro: Thank you! 🙂 Yes, it’s important to us.

The ‘Brunhilde against fascism’ T-shirt is stunning, and I believe that part of the profits is going to help Laut Gegen Nazis an Anti-Nazi charity campaigning against the rise of right-wing tendencies in Germany? What can you tell us about the charity? And can you envisage a time when fascism is no longer an issue? It’s only four years until America elects another President after-all!

Caro: Oh well, this is a topic that should not be needed to be discussed. But then you are right – profits of the respective shirt go to the charity, which supports and educates in the fight against fascism. Especially on the educational level, this is super important to teach youngsters the dangers of the lure some populists try to impose on them. Having said that, populism and right-wing tendencies definitely are not a US-American problem only. Be it Germany, the UK, the US, those openly reactionary countries like Brazil, the Philippines, or Hungary – you name it. The world nowadays for many people had become so complicated, they easily get caught by these demagogues. Which by no means is an excuse to become a right-wing idiot. But the constant alert is important. 4 years away from any election – and at any time.

What other current-day social issues do you feel strongly about?

Caro: Child abuse or domestic violence, or homelessness! This easily makes me cry! To some extent, it became more visible and urgent in pandemic times. There are so many problems. The educational background also is important. Many children are disadvantaged from the start, which is unfair. It should be on more governments’ agenda to create equal conditions here for children.

Kurt, your studios – Streetlife Studios, look really cool! There seems to be a real communal spirit there, how have you been surviving during the pandemic? Do you have any artists there at the moment?

Kurt: Yes, luckily we are really big and professional. The studios have been around for 30 years now !! In 2020 we had some big acts (which unfortunately I am not allowed to name). Still, I have to use every opportunity to earn money, because there are no live gigs, we don’t sell merch, etc.

In what ways has the band grown over the last few years? For instance, do you see growth in the song-writing?

Caro: Yes of course! We have gained quite a bit of routine and experience in the last few years! Working with Charlie Bauerfeind as our producer alone has brought us miles and miles ahead. In songwriting, we are constantly exposed to external influences that give us a special feeling and steer us in certain directions.

In terms of a similar audience: who would be the ideal act for Brunhilde to support?

Caro: In a dream world – it would be Nirvana. Okay, not really possible anymore. But Foo Fighters, Skunk Anansie, maybe even the ivy league in new metal acts, such as Limp Bizkit, Korn maybe. And – the premier league is Rammstein. And then Rammstein. And lastly Rammstein… If you know what I mean. But – we can probably get along well with many audiences, as we range from here to there, covering multiple facets in harder guitar-driven styles…

What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Caro: My mother was/is a big Queen fan. That was my first touch with “real” music. In my neighbourhood, there was a rehearsal room. I think I was 5 or 6 years old… I was so fascinated by this band-thing… That was my first time I ever had a microphone in my hand and sang “Tom Dooley”. Do you know this song?

Kurt: It was always clear to me that I wanted to become a musician and would like to bear all the efforts and success or failures. Only if you are freaky enough, fully committed and practice day and night, and work on yourself, you do have a chance to be successful in the music business.

Personally, who has been the biggest influence on you becoming a musician? Would it be a teacher? A family member? A fellow musician?

Kurt: Making music or music is an attitude towards life! You either have it or you don’t! You just have to want it. It is certainly supportive when you grow up in a musicians’ environment. You will certainly get hooked on that too!

What album do you have in your collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Caro: In my case, I could name “Bush – Sixteen Stone” or this German band’s album called “To Cut a Long Story Short” 🙂

Although 2020 was a year to forget, there was some great music released; what would be your album of 2020? And, what album are you looking forward to the most in 2021?

Caro: Maybe sth. like Body Count – Carnivore, Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts, AC/DC – Power Up. I was looking forward to the new Pretty Reckless album this year, for sure. But capturing my most emotions, that was the release of our very own one. Not because being the best (yet I hope it’s quite okay), but because you are involved with it in so many emotional stages…

What are your plans for 2021 should COVID ever disappear?!

Kurt: We hope that at least the live shows will be allowed again in 2021. Probably with huge restrictions at first, but still this will be very important for all of us. We are of course already working on the next album, which will be released at some point in 2022.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

Caro: We are active everywhere. but we are also happy when you write a letter or e-mail. 🙂

All links available here.

Photo credits – Pace Arts

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