Music is one of the very few things, that seems to take leaps and bounds across any particular barrier, particularly language. German rockers Odd Couple mash together a mix of psychedelic rock, garage sound and old school punk to produce their latest album Flügge. In light of the release, I sat down to chat with one half of the duo, Tammo Dehn, to chat about Flügge, a psychedelic sound and the importance of a really solid band relationship.
Your latest record Flügge, is such an incredibly eclectic mix of sounds. Its official release was set for April this year, how long has it been in the works for?
Well In Germany it was already released in November 2016, and we finished the mix in August 2016. In general, we just had some guitar riffs with drumbeats and it wasn’t until the recording process that these songs started to take shape. There were a few songs that where almost finished completely though. Apart from the fact that our Label asked us for a album within 1.5 months, we always worked like this. It’s hard to say how long the record took overall. But the timeframe from the idea to the realisation of the album, which included writing, recording and mixing, was from July until the middle of August 2016.
For those of us who don’t speak German, can you give us a rundown on what Flügge means and why you chose it as the album title?
Flügge means leaving the nest or ready to fly and we chose this title because its a state we thougt or still think a lot about. Those years where you start to be independent. I mean really independent. Just because you managed to fly to Asia on your own doesn’t make you an independent person. You come back home, your mother helps you out with some money, and you have to realise that you are actually really dependent. I see this a lot around me.
Tell me about the story behind “Gone Solid”? There are so many awesome elements to the sound behind that track where did it all come from?
“Gone Solid” was one of the few songs we had finished before the actual recording sessions. We tend to not write songs in a chronological way and that’s also the case with this one. The riff in the verse is maybe about two to three years old and the rest followed about one year later. Originally, this track had more parts but they got kicked out over time. The music in general doesn’t evolve out of a concept, but the lyrics have a nice story.
My girlfriend always wanted to see me without my beard so I shaved it for her birthday. That day we where on tour and I came to her place at 6:00 in the morning. She was still a bit drunk and couldn’t believe her eyes. She loved it, but I felt pretty strange in my body. Over the next few days I not only realised how different I looked, but also how my facial expressions changed without the beard. Suddenly I looked so fragile, unsure and sad. I guess a beard can create a certain veil over a part of your face and make you look more like a teddy bear. Thats where i got the idea for the lyrics.
Your sound is this wonderful mix of 60s rock and roll, garage, and that real psychedelic sound (especially on “Gone Solid” and “Gedächtnismann” who are your major influences?
We both have a pretty similar background when it comes to music taste but at the time we went also into different directions. We come from Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss and in general a lot of Stoner Rock. Jascha started to listen a lot to stuff like Bowie, The Beatles or Flaming Lips and I went into stuff like Jesus Lizard, Earth or Nick Cave as well as Psych and Hip Hop. In general we both opened up to good pop songwriting with the time.
You’ve both known each other for such a long time, (as far back as going to Kindergarten together?) how does that effect the band dynamics and creative process?
Well we don’t have to argue that much. We tend to like each others ideas almost always and give each other a lot of freedom. I have a lot of freedom when it comes to the lyrics and recording of the songs and Jascha does as well, when he does the visual stuff or the presentation of the band. I mean, we also live together so I guess since we were young, we’ve seen each other almost every day.
Your debut EP – It’s a Pressure To Meet You, was released in 2015, what are some of the main changes between that record and Flügge?
Flügge we did completely by ourselves and Pressure was recorded with Frank Pop. We weren’t able to experiment so much with sounds when we did Pressure because we didn’t know yet how that stuff worked. Berlin didn’t influence this record in the same way it did our first record. But your surroundings always influence what you do, and it doesn’t matter if its Berlin or a 500 person village. Most of the lyrics have something to do with our personal social surrounding which we wouldn’t have, if we didn’t live in Berlin. Vegans, Lazy Students, Hedonists, Arty People, Homeless People, Real Artists, Fake Artists etc. But in the end, this record is so much more about self-study, than a social-study, unlike our first one.
You’ve both featured in a whole bunch of different bands, when did you decide to come together and form Odd Couple?
Odd Couple had a lot of names and was always just a jam project, when we were still living in Ostfriesland. I think the project became reality when I moved from Hamburg to Berlin, a half year after Jascha moved there. We started as Odd Couple in 2011 but we really started to work on it in 2014.
You have such a huge sound for a duo, how do you recreate that incredibly full, onslaught of sound, during a live performance?
Well we actually have a third member! Dennis Schulze from Cult Hands. He plays the Bass, Synth and Organ parts and also played some snyths on Flügge. The three of us live in the same area and see each other a lot. We’ve become a three-guy family now I guess.
After the official release of Flügge, what’s next for Odd Couple as an outfit?
We want to build up a solid studio for recording and just making music with our live-bass and synth player Dennis from Cult Hands. We will record another album this year and release some still pretty secret stuff.
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