Lisa: the new album sounds warmer and more mature than the ones before. We focussed more on song writing and structure than on electronic effect. We recorded Wish I Was Here basically in our basement rehearsal room with live instruments such as drums, bass, guitar and piano. Since we all come from a tradition of playing live music the process came very natural to us.
Boris: Often we arranged new songs and recorded them immediately while the tune felt fresh. If you sit together with your friends and make music you usually play better and the sound you record vibrates in a nicer way.
The album has a much more ‘roots’ feel than your previous. How and what brought this development about?
Boris: This album is a lot about our musical roots. Maybe that’s the reason it has a “roots” feel…
Can you tell us about some of the instruments used?
Boris: Beside the instruments we have used on most tunes (Höfner “Beatles” bass, old Czech Amati drum set, 50s Gretsch Electromatic guitar, Hammond organ) there are also some stranger instruments: On Souvenir you can hear Martin Wenk playing a Danelectro baritone guitar and a Mandotar, which is a mixture of electric guitar and mandolin. On Pearl Diving our friend Arnold Kasar blows a solo on the chromatic harp. (Maybe you have heard Stevie Wonder or Toots Thielemanns playing this complicated thing…) On Pearl Diving you can also hear a bit of Stylophon which is a pocket organ which you play with some kind of pen.
Which influences have informed the making of the album – I’m hearing everything from the 50’s till now?
Lisa: Since we recorded with old instruments, the 50’s association is not entirely wrong.
Boris: You might find influences from 50s and 60s stuff, from Screaming Jay Hawkins over the Ventures, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield to modern bands like the XX or the Invisible. From every era we picked the stuff we like. We don´t have a mindset like: “I only listen to underground funk from 66 till 67 everything else is wrong.”
Lisa: The words were mainly inspired by a time in my life, where I felt quite weak. I had just had my second child and separated from the father of my children. At some point I had to realise I am on my own now and I can’t rely on the help of a partner. But still I felt quite vulnerable and I wished, somebody would just take the weight off me. That was when I wrote the lyrics.
Boris: The backing track was an idea which we recorded already the first time we tried it out. The take we used leads to a jam on the last part. The original plan was to make a fade out in the end so we didn´t care for a proper ending. Then we liked the part so much that we decided to leave it like we recorded it.
How did the collaborations on Wish I Was Here come about?
Lisa: We had met the Tindersticks first in 2001 on a festival and since then, we stayed in loose contact. When I wrote the song Handbrake we had to think of Stuarts voice as a perfect addition to the song. We sent it to him and he and his wife Susan liked the song so much, that he added lyrics to it.
Martin Wenk of Calexico is a Berlin based musician and a friend of ours, he was glad to add his unique sound to some of our songs.
When we met Earl Harvin in 2007, he had just moved to Berlin to work and live here. We played some small concerts in Berlin together and liked his style so much, that we asked him to play on some songs.
Boris: I knew Earl for a while through a friend. We hung out together but never made music. When Micatone´s drummer Tim went to Indonesia for a long time we asked Earl to play drums.
What lies ahead in 2012 for Micatone?
Lisa: In 2012 we will mainly play concerts and introduce the new album, our new video (Asian Man) will be out in April.