it’s the end of January. it’s cold. it’s dark. and we are in this cozy place stuffed with a random collection of comfortable upholstery facing the small stage (behind-the-scenes pictures as usual on Caan & Bittes’ instagram).
the huge space is ready to be filled with people. and it does fill up. more than anyone expected. extra chairs are constantly brought up from downstairs. someone decides to carry up another couch forgotten in the basement. one has to jump over chairs and climb over people to get anywhere. I see primary school kids, teenagers, middle aged folks, some college students and next to me a couple in their eighties. they think they might be the oldest around. it is wonderful.
we get on stage, just three of us this time. acoustic guitar and voices. simple. everyone is quiet, staring at us. you could hear a pin drop. unbelievable. everybody wants to know what we got. so we perform some songs and the applause is incredible. they like our stuff. and our new background singer visibly relaxes. it’s her first time on stage with us.
then it is time for what everybody actually came for: the poetry slam. the contestants are very different kind of people. reflecting the audience. also very different performances. such diversity. I am enjoying every minute of it. just like everybody else, still listening quietly.
after the break we are on again. another few songs. I am happy.
this, I would do again.
this one has been on my to do list for some months now…
I think it must have been sometime at the end of October last year when we went to Jochems Kneipe after a week of studio time during which we were finishing our first album. it had been a long and exhausting week, heaps of fun of course, but tiring nonetheless. the wonderful owner of the CMC recording studio had organized us a gig in this small music pub a couple of kilometres away.
and, whatdyasay, the gig was fantastic!
even though there was only a small crowd present, people were super appreciative and at the audiences request we ended up starting with the first set again after we had finished the last one. it felt great to perform in front of this crowd and we were told to definitely come back. with the whole band. which we are surely gonig to do (I suppose).
we stayed quite a while after we were done, talking to some people who had listened to us, eating bread with mustard (actually quite tasty), hearing so much about Jochems 40 plus years as a music club owner (apparently he fucking had Nirvana play at his joint back in the day), solving riddles and playing chess.
definitely a night to remember!
I talked to a friend recently, wishing her a happy new year and being all excited about a fresh start into a fresh 2018. she thought it hilarious that this illusion exists in our spheres that something special would actually start on New Year’s day. “”, she said. we don’t need to wait for its eve to change our habits, to change our lives, to change ourselves. every day can be used for that. heck, every moment is a new start into something different. one could even go further and say we can’t really make a cut anyway. we are just progressing from something that has been developed beforehand.
it was particularly obvious that this moment when we cheer to our new resolutions is pretty random when I was chatting with friends of mine from different time zones. while I was still making dinner one of them had already slept through ten hours of beauty sleep into the new year while another was still out partying. and when I later looked at the firework display from my balcony I got a text from a friend who just got up and having forgotten about the time difference was asking whether I was up for a skype date.
nonetheless, I LOVE new beginnings and resolutions and wishes and goals. it feels refreshing to give in to this illusion and just roll with it. I am energized and basically feel like I could achieve literally anything this year.
so here is to new beginnings!
for weeks I have either been travelling in wifi free zones or stayed at home where apparently the internet doesn’t work.
for this reason, I am currently spending heaps of time at the library. even more than I usually already do. in the mornings I pack my backpack full of food, my notebook, paper, pens and my to do list (not to forget all those endless movies and cds and books I borrowed and need to return). then I take a short walk through busy streets until I reach one of my favorite places in the city: the library.
a city library is very different from a university library. the latter is so earnest – and dull in a way. I prefer the atmosphere here much more. of course, heaps of people are working here, too, they sit at the various desks and concentrate hard on whatever they want or need to concentrate on. but you also find kids reading each other stories on those tiny chairs and comfy couches, people talking about yesterday’s news, people on huge wing chairs absorbed by exciting mystery novels, people laughing, people sharing their discoveries. you won’t get an angry “shhh” or a killer stare for turning the pages too loudly.
I could stay here all day, writing on my blog, researching, trying to find a new appartment. but now I am hungry and tired and I want to go home. so I’ll browse through the movie section and then I’ll come back tomorrow. for sure.
as mentioned before, we decided to return to the CMC Recording Studio & Music School to continue working on our first album. it still sounds quite ridiculous to me: “we are working on our first album”. but well, I guess that’s what we actually do. we record our own work to hopefully one day be able to offer it to the public. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine this even a year ago. somehow it all just seems to fall into place and I am very grateful for the opportunity and the experiences gained.
this time we decided to give ourselves more room to breathe and stayed for eight nights instead of rushing down and pushing through. this way we were able to work more days in the studio, give two concerts and still have a day off to recover (which was definitely needed).
to noones surprise it was pouring again during our roadtrip south. however, during the week the weather improved and left us with some sunny breaks in between long work days and the opportunity to go for an evening walk every now and then to finally get some fresh air and a clear head.
after weeks, months even, of listening to the songs we recorded in July, we had a pretty clear vision of where we wanted to head with them. all eight needed some sort of adjustment: new guitar tracks, another voice track, a solo here or there. perfectionism can be a hindrance, yet in this case it proved to be a great upgrade to refine those tunes. (you will be able to listen to it at some point, promised.) and we worked really hard!
we spent a third of October in the Southwest of Germany, in the state of Saarland to be exact (its nature seems to be quite astonishing – unfortunately we’ve neither had the chance nor the energy to go exploring). this is all I got to see during breaks and evening walks (after all, we were there to work…):
after a day of travelling south we started our musical adventure with another concert at the Renegades-Saar Bootshaus in Dillingen. when we arrived I saw that my painted chalk board sign from July had not been taken down; it just had been hanging there for months waiting for us to return. so we set up our gear in the same spot as the last time. it was strange yet comfortable to come back to a place we’ve performed at before. I was not as nervous as I usually am right before a gig.
all pictures by Renegades-Saar
we played two sets at this cozy afternoon session with food, cake and coffee while it was drizzling outside. proper fall weather. Anja (from the Renegades – in between Bittes and me in one of the pictures above) went live on facebook during our gig, which can be seen here. we had a great time and, of course, will one day come back to this beautiful spot.
the first of November is nowadays also known as world vegan day, which over time has evolved into the kick off of world vegan month. as a longtime vegan, who is involved in animal rights activism, I wanted to share a short video of some pig love I experienced first hand last year in New Zealand at the Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary, where I lived and worked for more than half a year.
and you should also check out my awesome mate McKenna hanging out with her favorites: the goats.