At a time where staying connected is more important than ever, House of Solo has launched ‘Party of One’, a series providing intimate insight into how your favourite artists are dealing with isolation and what we can expect from them during lockdown.
A genre-defying band hailing from Hamm, Germany, Giant Rooks are a group that will be dominating your summer playlists. Today they release ‘Heat it Up’, an urgent and funky track who’s fast-paced synth and dreamy vocals will get you moving despite the heat wave. We caught up with guitarist Finn Schwieters over email to discuss their new song, enviable lockdown living in Berlin and their debut album ROOKERY, which will drop August 28th.
How are you all? How are you answering this interview, is it all of you or just one of you?
We just finished our debut album, so everyone’s a little exhausted, but also very much looking forward to these next couple of months! It’s just me, Finn, the guitar player of the band.
Have you all been in lockdown together or with your families?
We’ve been living separately, but we’re all in Berlin. We had our daily video calls in which we navigated the final work for the album. We also recorded some quarantine cover sessions.
You’ve been in Berlin for lockdown, what’s that been like? Is everything back to normal now?
All stores, restaurants and pubs have reopened again and all the contact-restrictions are being pulled back slowly. Wearing a face mask is obligatory as well as keeping a distance of 1.5 meters. But just because the government allows you to go to the pub, doesn’t mean you should necessarily do that – we all gotta do our part to prevent a new outbreak so we can keep on living in relative normality.
Your single ‘Heat Up’ has been released today! Congratulations! I think it’s a great summer anthem, but explain in your own words why it belongs on people’s playlists.
Thank you! I think the song has an urgency which is something we always liked about it. I remember very well the first time Fred showed me a snippet of the verses he had recorded on his laptop. I fell in love with the vibe immediately and I hope some of you will feel the same way when listening to it.
You’re a group known for genre-breaking. How would you describe your sound and what purpose do you believe genres have today?
We don’t really think in genres at all. It’s a little cliché, but we actually just search for music that touches our souls. This could be a smash hit pop song, a hip hop track or some singer- songwriter music from the 60s! That’s the same approach we have when it comes to our own music!
You’ve played at some of Europe’s most well-renowned festivals, what was this festival season supposed to have in store?
We’re so grateful for all the opportunities we’ve had in the last couple years and it really has shaped us as a band. This year we would have performed at many festivals all over Europe. It didn’t work out this time – for reasons we all know – but we can’t wait for it all to happen next year!
You have also recently announced the release of your debut album ROOKERY which will be taking place this August! Tell me a little about the album and the story it tells.
We started working on ROOKERY two years ago, but it definitely feels like it’s something which has slowly been growing over the six years that we’ve been playing music together. It’s something that’s always been on our minds ever since we first met in a tiny cellar room at my dad’s home back in 2014 when we started this band. Everything came together for this record and you can’t imagine how happy we are to have it in the world in less than two months!
You’ll also be touring this album in the spring, where are you most looking forward to playing and what have you missed most about performing live?
We’ll be performing in places we have never visited before as a band, so that’s going to be very exciting! For example we’ll play our first ever shows in Spain, Sweden and Denmark! But to be honest, the place is not that important. The most amazing thing is when you realize that there’s a deep connection happening between the audience and the band, it’s a feeling you can’t describe! So that’s what we really miss about performing live at the moment, among many other things haha.
So you all grew up together in Hamm, Germany. Tell me about the city and how it shaped your music.
Yes, we grew up and met in Hamm – it’s a rather small city and it wasn’t that easy to find the right people to form a band with, but it all worked out eventually and we are very grateful for that!
What have you guys been listening to during lockdown, do you all have similar music tastes?
I’ve been listening to the new Perfume Genius record a lot which has this amazing title ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’. It’s a fantastic record!
What has lockdown been like for you guys as a group? Has it been a chance to reflect and record new music or has it been largely frustrating due to cancellations?
Of course it was frustrating at first, but it also gave us the time to work on our debut album a little longer and we actually changed a few things – if it was for the better, no one can say!
What positive changes do you hope this period of time will cause? This can be either personally or a wider more societal aim.
I really hope that the fight against systemic racism will intensify – and that we all individually begin or continue to question and reflect on our own white privilege.
What’s up next for the Giant Rooks?
We delivered the album masters and everything to our label, but there are still a lot of things to do for the release. Shooting music videos, rehearsing the new songs for coming live shows! We will also try to write new music and keep moving forward.